Guide to African American
History Materials

in Manuscript and Visual Collections

at the Indiana Historical Society

 

 

Originally compiled as a printed guide
(Selected African-American History Collections) by
Wilma L. Gibbs, 1996

Revised and updated by Wilma L. Gibbs
as an online guide, 2002 and 2004

 

 

Introduction

Personal Papers

Organizations, Institutions, and Projects

Communities

Education

Race Relations

Religious Institutions

 

 

15 July 2004
Manuscript and Visual Collections Department
William Henry Smith Memorial Library
Indiana Historical Society
450 West Ohio Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3269

www.indianahistory.org

 

Introduction

 

This guide describes manuscript and visual collections in the William Henry Smith Memorial Library of the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) that document the experiences of African Americans in Indiana.  In 1982, a collecting effort was formalized at the Historical Society to address the concern for the paucity of records available for doing research on the history of African Americans in the state.  The purpose of that effort continues to be to collect, process, preserve, and disseminate information related to the history of black Hoosiers.  The Archivist, African American History is available to answer and direct research questions from the public.  Indiana Historical Society members can receive Black History News & Notes, a quarterly newsletter that publicizes library collections, relevant historical events, and short papers pertaining to Indiana’s black history.

Preserving Indiana’s African American heritage is a cooperative venture.  The Society needs your help in providing information about existing records in attics, basements, and garages that can be added to the library’s collections.  As more records are collected and organized, a more accurate and complete interpretation of Indiana history will emerge.  If you or someone you know has manuscripts (letters, diaries, account books, journals, etc.), rare books, photographs, or maps related to Indiana history, please contact the Indiana Historical Society Library.

Using this Guide

Guide to African American History Materials in Manuscript and Visual Collections at the Indiana Historical Society is an annotated guide to the manuscript and visual holdings pertaining to blacks at the Indiana Historical Society.  The guide is divided into six subject areas: Personal Papers (broadly defined to include those collections that pertain to a given individual); Organizations, Institutions, and Projects; Communities; Education; Race Relations; and Religious Institutions.

Many of the collections listed in this guide were donated during the Black Women in the Middle West Project, a collecting effort to gather primary source materials of African American women in Illinois and Indiana.  The Society has the administrative records of the project, as well as numerous collections of individuals and organizations.  Collections donated during the project are noted.

Most of the collections included in this subject guide have individual collection guides, as indicated by each entry.  Collection guides, available at the Society’s library and on its website, give a more complete description of collections and generally contain a historical or biographical sketch, scope and content note, a series listing, and a list of boxes and folders in the collection.

For each collection described below the following information is provided:

·        Collection title

·        Collection number: M (for manuscript collections one document case or greater), SC (for manuscript collections less than one document case), BV (for bound volumes such as scrapbooks and ledgers), OM (for oversize manuscripts less than one box), OMB (for oversize manuscripts one box or greater), F (microfilm), CT (cassette tapes), and P (visual materials)

·        Size of collection: box, folder, volume, microfilm reel, or cassette tape quantities

·        The availability of a collection guide describing the collection, usually at the folder level

·        Brief description of the collection

Additional access points to manuscript collections include OCLC (Online Computer Library Center, Inc.) and NUCMC (National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections). The library's online catalog is another source of information on manuscript collections. Many collection guides are available on the IHS website. Newly cataloged collections and collection guides are added to the online catalog and website regularly; please check them for recent additions.

Other subject guides available from the Indiana Historical Society or on our website include:

·        Guide to Ethnic History Collections, compiled by Paul A. Brockman in 1996, revised 2002

·        Guide to African-American Printed Sources at the Indiana Historical Society, compiled by Wilma L. Gibbs, 1997

·        Guide to Women’s History Materials in Manuscript Collections at the Indiana Historical Society, 2002 (compiled by Alexandra S. Gressitt in 1997;  revised and updated by Glenn McMullen in 2000; updated by Pamela Tranfield in 2002 and by Glenn McMullen in 2003 and 2004)

·        Guide to Railroad History Materials in Manuscript and Visual Collections at the Indiana Historical Society, compiled by Glenn McMullen, 2004

If you have African American history materials of potential interest that you might like to donate, or for further information on related collections at IHS, contact:

Wilma L. Gibbs

Archivist, African American History

Indiana Historical Society

450 W. Ohio St.

Indianapolis, IN 46202

(317) 234-0049

wgibbs@indianahistory.org

Personal Papers

 

ARMSTRONG, IRVEN. Collection, 1918–1996 (bulk 1918–1992).  M 0745.  1 box.  Collection guide onlineThe collection contains letters written by female students to Sergeant Irven Armstrong while he was stationed in France during World War I.  The young women attended Indianapolis Public Schools #17.  In general, the letters wish him well, commend his war service, express home front support of American soldiers, comment on the effects of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, thank him for keeping America safe for Democracy, and bid him a safe return.  The letters, executed with good penmanship, contain the signatures and addresses of the students, all who lived within blocks of the near westside school.  All letters are dated 7 November 1918.

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ARTIS, LIONEL F. Papers, 1933–1967.  M 0762, OM 0401.  1 box, 1 oversize folder.  Collection guide onlineLionel F. Artis (1895–1971) was born in Paris, Illinois.  He grew up and received his early education in Indianapolis.  He served with the army during World War I in Beaune, France. In 1933 he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Chicago.  He received a Master of Arts degree from Indiana University in 1941.

Artis was a civic leader in Indianapolis.  He served as a board member of twenty-three organizations.  As assistant secretary of the Senate YMCA, Artis organized the first Boy Scout Troop at that institution.  From 1937 to 1969, he managed Lockefield Gardens, a public housing facility.  He was one of the organizers of Flanner House Homes.  Artis was also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

The collection includes correspondence, diplomas and programs from graduations, a military patch, newspaper clippings, photographs, and awards.  Of special note are a constitution, minute book, and some administrative documents of the Community Hospital Association. The hospital was established in 1932 to aid with health care services for African Americans in Indianapolis.

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BEESON, CECIL: Jesse Pettiford Research Collection, 1972–1988.  SC 2683.  1 folder.  Collection guide online.  Jesse Pettiford (ca. 1818–64) was living in Jennings County, Indiana, when he mustered into the United States Army in February 1864.  He enlisted with the 28th United States Colored Troops, Company F, in Indianapolis.  Pettiford did not return to his wife, Anna Blanks (ca. 1818–1920), and their several children after his military service.  There are disputed reports on his whereabouts after the war.  According to an 1883 memorandum concerning a pension claim from the Adjutant General's office of the War Department, Pettiford died of pleurisy at Camp Fremont in Indianapolis on 26 April 1864.  The records from the Indiana Adjutant General's office and the published Civil War report of W. H. H. Terrell state that Pettiford deserted the Army in March 1864.  Pettiford family oral tradition suggests that Pettiford was poisoned while he was on active duty.

From 1972 to 1988, in an effort to research Pettiford, Cecil Beeson corresponded with staff at several institutions including the Indiana State Library, Henry County Memorial Hospital, the National Archives, and the Indiana Historical Society.  In addition to his correspondence, the collection includes copies of a certificate of enlistment and service, pension claims and affidavits, and an 1868 marriage license for Anna Pettifoot (sic) and William Hood.

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BLACKBURN, DORA ATKINS. Papers, 1926–1978 (bulk 1926–1978).  M 0634.  1 box.  Collection guide in library.  Dora Atkins Blackburn was born in Indianapolis and attended Butler University.  After her mother’s death, she and her sister Murray Atkins took over Atkins Flower Shop, started by her mother.  Dora Atkins operated the flower shop in Indianapolis for over fifty years.  The collection contains several photographs of Blackburn, including a 1910 photograph of Blackburn with three classmates crocheting at school.  There are materials related to the Blackburn genealogy; Blackburn’s mother, Dora Graham Atkins; and her father, Calvin R. Atkins, a physician.  A 1937 letter from Arthur T. Long refers to an article about Dora Blackburn that appeared in Opportunity, the news magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  The collection contains photographs and clippings about the Atkins Flower Shop, including a guest list from the 50th anniversary celebration of the business.  Mayor William H. Hudnut proclaimed 20 November 1977 Dora Atkins Blackburn day in Indianapolis.  Items relating to Calvin R. Atkins include a copy of the first annual report (1910) of Lincoln Hospital, established by black physicians to serve African Americans in Indianapolis at a time of rigid segregation and critical health care concerns.

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BROKENBURR, ROBERT LEE. Papers, 1941–1973.  M 0492, OM 0223, BV 2432–2434.  1 box, 1 oversize folder, 3 volumes.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide in library.  Robert Lee Brokenburr (1886–1974), an attorney, was the first African American to serve in the Indiana State Senate.  His parents were Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Baker Brokenburr.  He graduated from Hampton Institute and Howard University Law School.  He was admitted to the Indiana Bar in 1917.  Brokenburr married Alice Julia Glover in 1910.  They had two children, Nerissa Lee (Stickney) and Alice Olga (Ray).  Alice Julia died in 1945, and in 1948 Brokenburr married Jeanette Walker Hightower.  Brokenburr often sat as judge pro-tem of the municipal, superior, and circuit courts of Marion County.  He was deputy prosecuting attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit of Indiana.  As a legislator, he authored many bills that passed into law, especially in the area of civil rights.

Included in this collection are three scrapbooks, mostly about Brokenburr's senatorial career and several miscellaneous items.  There are banquet programs, newspaper clippings, certificates, telegrams, and a list of bills authored by Brokenburr from 1941 to 1973.

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BROOKS, HARRY W. Papers, 1930–2000 (bulk 1970–1978).  M 0753, OM 0391.  4 boxes, 3 oversize folders.  Collection guide online.  Harry William Brooks, Jr. (1928–), was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Harry William, Sr., and Nora Elaine Bailey Brooks.  He attended the local public schools, graduating from Crispus Attucks High School in 1947.  He enlisted as a private in the United States Army at age 19.  He retired as a Major General in 1976.  Brooks went to Basic Training in 1947.  He married Doris Elizabeth Greene (17 March 1930–29 October 1979) in 1948.  Four children were born to this union.  Later, he married June C. Hezakiah.

Brooks served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.  From 1974 to 1976, he was the commanding General of the Army's famed 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii.  Highly decorated, Brooks became a major general in 1974.  After retiring from the military, Brooks joined Amfac, Inc. of Hawaii.  When he left Amfac, Inc. in 1984, he was Executive Vice President of the company.  Later that year, Brooks and his colleagues started Advanced Consumer Marketing Corporation.  He is currently chairman of Brooks, International.

The collection materials reflect the career of a United States Army officer.  It contains biographical materials, military orders and citations, speeches, reports, program booklets, news clippings, and photographs.  There are several photographs of Brooks in uniform, and images of him with prominent politicians, entertainers, and civic leaders.

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CHAMBERS, WILLIAM A. Papers, 1971–1985.  SC 2438.  4 folders.  Collection guide online.  William Alexander Chambers (1898–1985), the son of Jesse W. and Nancy Violet Graves Chambers, was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  After serving in World War I, Chambers settled in Indianapolis.  He worked for Ferguson Printing Company, and during his fifty years of newspaper experience he served as an editor for three black weeklies.  An aspiring fiction writer during his later life, Chambers spent time developing two works entitled "A Summer of Uncommon Retrospects" and "Rotterham Lodge Tales."

The collection contains biographical notes and obituaries pertaining to Chambers; materials related to an unpublished manuscript; and biographical information written by Chambers about the Eli Lilly family.

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CHESTER, EMMA LEE. Papers, 1962–1985.  M 0498.  2 boxes.  Collection guide online.  The oldest of ten children born to Aron and Teadie Devine, Emma Lee Devine Chester (1942–) was born in Starkville, MississippiChester received a B.A. from Mississippi State University and a M.S. from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.  She began her teaching career with the Indianapolis Public Schools in 1972.

The collection contains the personal papers of Emma L. Chester and Julie Davis, a worker for the Marion County Welfare Department.  It consists mostly of correspondence, certificates, and newspaper clippings.

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CHILDS, HESTER B. Papers, 1944–1987.  M 0676.  1 box.  Collection guide online.  Hester Blanche Childs (1909–87), although born in Duncan, Mississippi, lived most of her life in Indianapolis.  A nurse by profession, Childs was also active in numerous civic and social organizations.  The collection contains materials relating to Childs and other family members and highlights her activities in various clubs and organizations.

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CONN, HARRIETTE BAILEY. Papers, 1909–1990.  M 0692, OM 0370.  8.5 boxes, 3 oversize folders.  Collection guide online.  Harriette Vesta Bailey Conn (1922–1981) was the daughter of Robert Lieutenant and Nelle Vesta Bailey.  Born in Indianapolis, she completed her early education in the city's school system, graduating from Crispus Attucks High School at the age of 14 years.  Following in her father's footsteps, in 1941, she became a second-generation alumnus of Talladega College, and she later became an attorney.  Her father, Robert L. Bailey, served as deputy attorney general to James Ogden from 1930 to 1932.

From 1955 to 1965, Harriette Bailey Conn served as deputy attorney general of Indiana under Edwin K. Steers.  On 1 May 1970, the Supreme Court of Indiana appointed Conn State Public Defender, a position she held until her death.  Succeeding Mel Thornberg of Anderson, Conn was the first woman and the first African American to hold the position.  Under Conn's direction, the office that provided legal services for Indiana inmates who could not afford to appeal their convictions or sentences grew from a staff of three in 1970 to twenty-seven in 1981.

Most of the material in the collection relates to Conn, her family, her organizational affiliations, and her legal career.

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COOPER, PAULA. Case Records, 1986–1989.  M 0565. 2 boxes.  Collection guide online.  Paula Cooper (1970–) was convicted of killing Ruth Pelke.  Pelke was stabbed 33 times on 14 May 1985 in Gary, Indiana. According to reports, Cooper and three younger friends skipped school, drank wine, and smoked marijuana before visiting Pelke and inquiring about Bible lessons.  Testimony further alleged that Pelke was murdered after admitting the girls into her house.  They took ten dollars and the keys to Pelke's car. The assigned public defender advised Cooper to plead guilty.  Judge James Kimbrough sentenced Cooper to death.  She was sent to death row at the Indiana Women's Prison.  In December 1986 Cooper's case was taken up by Monica Foster, a young lawyer who had worked as a public defender.  Foster and others organized a campaign on Cooper's behalf, based on mounting public opinion, particularly in Europe and especially in Italy, where the death penalty had been outlawed.  Appeals were made to the Indiana Supreme Court, which received two million signatures; to Gov. Robert Orr, who received an appeal from the Pope in September 1987; and to the United Nations, which received a million signatures.  The Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments in the case, and on 13 July 1989, the Court overturned the death sentence, substituting the maximum allowable prison term (60 years with a minimum term of 26 years).

The collection contains letters, telegrams, petitions, and cards arranged chronologically and addressed to the Indiana Supreme Court on behalf of Paula Cooper’s death sentence conviction.  The vast majority of the appeals came from Italy, with some items sent from Belgium, Holland, and West Germany.

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CURRY, JUNE RESNOVER. Family Papers, 1905–1921.  SC 2471, OM 214.  2 folders, 1 oversize folder.  Collection guide online.  Cora Resnover Hampton (ca. 1890‑1945) and Willa Resnover Donaldson (ca. 1894‑1978) were the daughters of James H. and Narcissus Stokes Resnover.  The sisters, who came to Indianapolis at an early age from Nashville, Tennessee, were educated in the Indianapolis public schools.  They attended Frederick Douglass School # 19, Manual High School, and Teacher's College of Indianapolis which later became the Blaker College of Education at Butler University.  Both sisters became teachers; Hampton taught in Indianapolis and Donaldson in Carbondale and Cairo, Illinois.

The collection contains five items related to the educational achievements of the two sisters.  It includes Hampton’s 1911 Marion County teaching license, Donaldson’s diplomas from Frederick Douglass School and Manual Training High School, a Butler University transcript, and a 1921 job offer letter from Cairo, Illinois.

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DETHRIDGE, LUVENA W. Papers, 1927-1954 (bulk 1927-1935).  M 0523, OMB 0056.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Mary Luvena Wallace Dethridge (1894–1988), most commonly known as Luvena Wallace Dethridge, was born in Richmond, Indiana.  Her parents were Luther and Laura Wallace.  She was married to Boston Dethridge, a worker at Reid Memorial Hospital, who died in 1979.  Dethridge attended public schools in Richmond, and she studied with Samuel Garton, one-time department of music chairperson at Earlham College.  Under Garton's tutelage she spent time in Italy in 1929 and again in 1930 as a student and singer.

Most of the collection documents Dethridge's work as a lyric soprano.  There is correspondence, program booklets, a passport, newsletters, a scrapbook, and newspaper clippings.  Also included is a scrapbook (ca. 1935) compiled by the National Association of Colored Women, correspondence from the Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Indiana, and 1944 newsletters with news of servicemen from the Perfect Circle Factory in Hagerstown, Indiana.

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DICKINSON, JESSE L. Collection, 1922–1982.  M 0532.  46 boxes, 10 cubic ft. boxes.  Collection guide online.  Jesse L. Dickinson (1906–1982), an Indiana state legislator, was born in Chandler, Oklahoma, in 1906.  He moved to South Bend, Indiana, in 1928 with his wife Helen.  They were the parents of four sons: Valjean, Coleridge, Roland, and Carroll.

Dickinson served in the Indiana House from 1943 to 1947 and from 1951 to 1959.  He served in the Senate from 1959 to 1963.  Representing St. Joseph County, he had a distinguished legislative career as an advocate for civil rights, mental health, services to the aging, housing, prison reform, and fair employment.

The bulk of the collection contains Dickinson's legislative correspondence and material pertaining to his career in public service.  He was affiliated with numerous organizations, agencies, and commissions.  His papers are organized in seven major divisions: biographical information; correspondence; organizations; topics (includes 11 boxes of legislative correspondence dated from 1942 to 1965); speeches and programs; clippings; and scrapbooks.

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EANS, PAULINE B. Papers, 1926–1981 (bulk 1970s).  M 0405. 1 box.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Pauline Eans (1905–1981) was a teacher of nursing education.  She received a B.A. degree from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) and a M.A. in public health education from the University of Michigan.  A founder of the Northwest Civic Association, she was a member of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee.  In 1955 she joined the Wishard Hospital School of Nursing faculty in Indianapolis, retiring in 1977.

The collection contains materials related to Eans's work at Wishard, Alabama A &M College, and Lincoln University (Missouri), where she spent her early career.  Also included are items related to her university teaching and her community service in Indianapolis.

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ENIX, ELIZABETH M. Papers, 1905–1994 (bulk 1990–1994).  M 0756.  1 box.  Collection guide online.  Elizabeth M. Enix was born Jane Elizabeth Martin in Indianapolis in 1906.  Her affiliations included the National Council of Negro Women and the Women’s Improvement Club.  The collection includes correspondence, memoirs, programs, and photographs.  The memoirs discuss a number of topics, including Indianapolis buildings, the 1913 Indianapolis Flood, and the Indiana Avenue neighborhood.

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FOX, O. JAMES. Collection, 1945-2002.  P 0266.  1 document case, 4 OVA boxes, 3 folders color photographs, 12 color slides, 6 color negatives, 1 folder printed material.  Collection guide online.  O. (Oscar) James Fox was born 2 October 1914 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and raised in Lakewood, Ohio. He earned a bachelor of arts degree at Miami University in 1937 and a master’s degree in education at Western Reserve University, Cleveland, in 1964.  Fox arrived in Indianapolis in 1945 as a volunteer with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). He was assigned to an urban work camp, part of Flanner House, a community center on the near west side of the city.

One of his first jobs in Indianapolis was to photo document the slum area of the near west side of the city. He also wrote poetry associated with the photographs and his experiences living in an urban neighborhood.

The collection includes black-and-white and color photographs and color slides made between 1945 and circa 1960. The photographs depict scenes of African American families, children, and the urban environment of the near west side of Indianapolis.  Other color photographs document activities in the Flanner House Cannery and a party involving women and children.

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GOENS, LILLIAN MARIE. Papers, 1884-1984 (bulk 1970-1984).  M 0447, OM 0134.  2 boxes, 1 folder.  Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide in library.  Lillian Marie Goens was born in Washington, Daviess County, Indiana, and lived in Indianapolis for sixty-five years.  She worked at Wishard Hospital and was active in Barnes United Methodist Church and United Methodist Women.  In the early 1970s she was active in the Federation of Associated Clubs and the National Council of Negro Women.  This collection includes personal material as well as programs, minutes, and newsletters of organizations with which she was involved.

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GRAY, MOSES W. Papers, 1950–1997 (bulk 1980–1996).  M 0693, R 2008–201115 boxes.  Collection guide online.  Moses William Gray (1937–), a retired General Motors manager, community activist, and civic leader, was born in Rock Castle, Goochland County, Virginia.  The son of Moses Gray, Jr., a steel mill machinist and Ida Young Gray, a housewife, he was the fourth of seven siblings.  Gray grew up in Conemaugh, Pennsylvania.  He received a BS degree in physical education from Indiana University.  He furthered his education at the University of Michigan and the General Motors Institute.  Gray played football at Indiana University.  He also played professionally for the Indianapolis Warriors and for the New York Titans (now New York Jets).  Gray was married to Anne Marie Powell on 22 November 1962.  The couple has two adopted children, Tamara Ann and William Bernard.

The 15-box collection consists primarily of materials related to Gray’s involvement with numerous community organizations.  Much of the collection pertains to his advocacy for the adoption of African American children.  The collection is divided into seven major subject headings: biographical and personal; adoption; education; General Motors; Indiana University; 100 Black Men, INC.; and organizations.

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GREAT BLACK HOOSIER AMERICANS. Collection, n.d.  P 0180. 1 box.  No collection guide available.  Thirty pencil drawings by Vertine Young of notable African American men and women who were born or lived in Indiana. The subjects are as follows: members of the 28th U. S. Colored Troops (group portrait); Lt. Nobel Sissle; Madam C. J. Walker; Bishop Paul Quinn; Richard Gordon Hatcher; Reverend J. M. Townsend, D. D.; Marion Stuart; Mari Edwards; Alexander E. Manning; George L. Knox; Albert Merritt; Cleo Blackburn; Dr. Perry Julian; Russell Smith; Marshall William “Major” Taylor; Wes Montgomery; Sallie Stewart; Gen. Harry W. Brooks; Lt. Charles Hall; Todd Duncan; Mrs. W. E. B. Dubois; Judge Rufus C. Kuykendall; Anita Lucette DeFranz; Elder W. Diggs; Jesse L. Dickinson; James Edwards; Ted Chambers; George W. Stevens; Wallace N. Terry II; Starling James; Reverend John McGinty (St. Mission Church).

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GREATHOUSE, RUTH. Papers, ca. 1912-1936 (bulk 1934-1936).  M 0622. 7 folders.  Collection guide online.  Ruth Greathouse was born in Indianapolis.  Her parents were Archie and Rose Greathouse.  The family home was located at 2631 N. Capitol Avenue.

The bulk of the collection includes correspondence to Ruth Greathouse from W. E. Mayo from April 1934 to August 1936.  Mayo was in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  Through early August 1934 he was located at Camp Knox in Kentucky, before moving to a CCC camp near Cromwell, Indiana.  He wrote Greathouse generally three to four times a month.  His letters detail his activities and work assignments, as well as his affection for Greathouse.

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GREEN, EMMA CASON. Papers, 1939–1983.  M 0536.  1 box.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  The daughter of James and Rebecca Cason, Emma Cason Green (1884–1983) was born in North Middletown, Kentucky.  In 1905 she married Charles Green (1884–1957), a farmer from Bourbon County, Kentucky.  Four children were born of this union.  During the 1940s the Green family moved to Anderson, Indiana.  Throughout her life Green worked as a self-employed dressmaker.

Most of the materials relate to the life of Green.  She was an avid creative writer.  Two folders contain speeches and poems.  There is also an autograph book and scrapbooks commemorating her 34th and 50th wedding anniversaries.

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GREER, REV. HESTER ANNA. Papers, 1880–1982.  M 454.  1 box.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Hester Anna Nolcox Greer (1880–1982), the daughter of John Western and Isabell Patterson Nolcox, was born and reared in Princeton, Indiana.  In 1898 she married Jesse Greer (ca. 1870–1939), a minister. Floyd, Mariah Lula, Emath, and Gretchen were born to this union.  Also a minister, Hester Greer pastored congregations in Princeton, Indianapolis, and Fort Wayne.  She did missionary work in Jamaica and Cuba.

Most of the material in the collection relates to Greer's missionary work.  It contains genealogical materials, correspondence, and an unpublished autobiography, “Life and Times of Hester Anna Greer.”

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HALL, MILDRED. Papers, 1916–2001.  M 0796.  1 document case, 11 flat file folders of photographs, 6 folders photographs, 1 oversized photograph.  Collection guide online.  Mildred Marshall Hall, daughter of William Henry and Nettie Belle Marshall, was born on 18 April 1911 on the outskirts of Indianapolis.  When Crispus Attucks High School (CAHS) was built for African American students, she was one of many students mandated to go. She spent her last two years of high school at CAHS, graduating in 1929. Hall graduated from Butler University in 1948.  She married Luther E. Hall, Jr., on 28 December 1941.  Mildred Hall taught in the Indianapolis Public Schools system for 32 years, retiring in 1970. She spent 30 years at IPS #26 and 2 years at School #32. 

The collection contains documents pertaining to Mildred Hall and her work with the Red Cross Motor Corps, her career as a public school teacher, and her membership in the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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HARDRICK, JOHN. Collection, 1924–1931, n.d.  SC 1980.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  This collection of several newspaper clippings, mostly from the 1920s and 1930s, reference John Hardrick's (1891–1968) work as an artist.  There is also mention of other artists of the period, including Henry O. Tanner, William E. Scott, and Hale Woodruff.  Some of the articles are illustrated with Hardrick's work. Included in the clippings are pictures of a youthful and older Hardrick, along with a picture of Woodruff.

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HUMMONS, HENRY LYTLE. Papers, 1902–1958.  SC 2317.  4 folders.  Collection guide online.  Henry Lytle Hummons (1873–1956) graduated from the Indianapolis Medical School in 1902.  In 1919 he was instrumental in the founding of Indianapolis's first free tuberculosis center located at Flanner House.  He was an active participant in the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association, serving on its board for 45 years.

The collection contains materials related to the Hoosier State Medical Association, the Indiana State Medical Association, and the Indianapolis Medical Association; a 50-year booklet from Hummons's 1896 graduation class from Knoxville College; and newspaper clippings.

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KELLEY, ELIZABETH H. Papers, 1942-1984 (bulk 1972-1980).  SC 2487.  3 folders.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Elizabeth H. Rile Kelley was born in Union County, Indiana.  After graduating from Oxford High School in Oxford, Ohio, she matriculated at Miami University where she received an A.B. degree in 1933.  In 1937 Rile married Harold B. Kelley.  After the marriage they made their home in Richmond, Indiana.  Two children, Marilyn Ann and Harold W., were born to this union.  The Kelleys, along with Henry and Mary Ina Bass, were co-owners of the Specialty Record Shop, Inc.  The shop, which opened in 1947, operated in downtown Richmond for over three decades.  A prolific writer, Kelley has written numerous newspaper and magazine articles about different topics.  In 1943 she organized the Readers Expression Guild, a local club for study, self-improvement, and self-expression for black women.

The collection contains biographical information pertaining to Elizabeth Kelley; Readers Expression Guild materials; and news clippings, mostly about Richmond history.

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KING, WILLIAM L. G. Memoirs, 1977. SC 2569. 5 folders. Collection guide onlineWilliam Lee Grant King (1883–1979) was born in a small town near Marietta, Georgia. He married Mae Bell King and three children were born to this union. King, who received a Masters degree from Indiana University, was a graduate of Atlanta University. For two decades, he was an industrial arts teacher at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, retiring in 1952. He later worked in the occupational therapy department at Carter Hospital. A longtime parishioner of All Souls Unitarian Church, King was an active member of the Fall Creek Young Men's Christian Association.

King's memoirs, a 142-page work, completed on 27 July 1977, are recollections compiled by the author over what appears to be more than a 10-year period (roughly 1965–77). The volume contains King's observations, ramblings, personal philosophies, and childhood stories--many of which King attributes to his parents. He discusses his life, family, and world travels. The time he spent in Indianapolis is discussed throughout the memoirs with mention of local people.

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KNIGHT, ETHERIDGE JR.  Papers, 1955–2000.  M 0798, OM 0409.  Five document cases, 23 folders of photographs, 15 oversize folders, 2 cassettes, 8 videotapes, and 5 artifacts.  Collection guide online.  Etheridge Knight, Jr. (son of Etheridge, Sr., and Belzora Cozart Knight) was born in Corinth, Mississippi, on 19 April 1931. Knight joined the United States Army in 1947 and saw action during the Korean Conflict.   In 1960 he was arrested for armed robbery. Knight was incarcerated at the Indiana State Prison from 1960 to 1968. While in prison, Knight began to write poetry and submit his writings to publishing houses. Following numerous rejections from publishers, Knight received his first acceptance letter from Negro Digest editor Hoyt Fuller.

Knight authored five books of poetry: Poems from Prison (Broadside Press, 1968); Black Voices from Prison (Pathfinder Press, 1970); Belly Song & Other Poems (Broadside Press, 1973); Born of a Woman (Houghton Mifflin, 1981); and The Essential Etheridge Knight (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986). He has also been published in a wide range of periodicals and anthologies, including: A Comprehensive Survey of Black Writers of America, The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, New Black Voices, New Canadian-American Poetry, and Black World.

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LANE, RUSSELL A. Papers, 1933–1985.  M 0522.  1 box.  Collection guide online.  Russell Adrian Lane (1897–1986), the son of George and Mattie Lane, was born in Baltimore, Maryland.  Lane earned four college degrees, including a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University.  Lane came to Indianapolis in 1927 to teach English at the newly opened Crispus Attucks High School for black students.  After being appointed English department head and acting principal, Lane became principal in 1932.  He remained at Attucks until 1957, when he became assistant to the superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools.

The collection includes a lengthy biographical sketch of Lane; newspaper clippings; memorabilia from Lane’s era as principal at Attucks (that coincided with Attucks as a force in high school basketball and the breaking of the color barrier of the Indiana High School Athletic Association); and Rosie Cheatham Mickey’s dissertation, “Russell Adrian Lane: Biography of an Urban Negro School Administrator.”

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LATTIMORE, MARTHA. Papers, 1880–1907.  SC 2489.  2 folders.  Collection guide online.  Martha Mace Lattimore (ca. 1846–?), a native of Castilian Springs, Tennessee, lived most of her life in Noblesville, Indiana.

The collection includes correspondence, a mortgage form, and one photograph.  A letter from William A. Mace of Glasgow, Kentucky, to his sister Martha in Noblesville relates activities in Glasgow, as well as comments on family affairs, his state of mind, and race relations.  The 1907 photograph is of Martha Lattimore’s body in a casket in the parlor of her sister’s (Lucy Jane Mace Tyree) home located in Indianapolis.

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MADDUX, WALTER H. Papers, 1915-1985 (bulk 1915-1968).  M 0510.  3 boxes.  Collection guide online.  Walter Henry Maddux (ca. 1892–1978), a native of Kansas City, Kansas, was a physician who spent the last 35 years of his life in Indianapolis.  A World War I army veteran, Maddux received degrees from the University of Kansas at Lawrence and the University of Chicago.  While working at Flanner House, a social service agency, he helped found the Herman G. Morgan Health Center.

The collection contains personal and general correspondence; medical and lecture notes and case studies; material related to Flanner House and Morgan Health Center, as well as other organizations; and medical advertisements and publications.  Personal correspondence includes letters to and from his wife, Willa Mack Maddux, and his mother, Dora Maddux Younger.  There is also information about African American nurses, including material on the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, reflecting Willa Maddux’s training as a nurse.

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MERRIFIELD, NORMAN. Oral History Interview, 1980. SC 2728, CT1514. 1 folder, 1 cassette tape.  Collection guide online.   Norman Merrifield (1906-1997) was a high school music teacher.  He taught at Crispus Attucks High School many years, retiring in 1967.  An accomplished musician, he published several musical works including arrangements of “Somebody’s Knocking at Yo’ Door” and “Ah Done, Done.” 

The collection is comprised of a cassette tape and a transcript of an oral history interview of Merrifield.  Interviewed by Florabelle Wilson, Merrifield discusses his family, his father’s business, the Baptist church, and Crispus Attucks High School.  He also talks about race relations and the negative impact that the Ku Klux Klan had on his south side Indianapolis neighborhood.

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MIDDLETON, HARVEY N., M.D. Papers, 1928–1978.  M 0441.  9 boxes.  Collection guide online.  Harvey N. Middleton (1895–1978) was a cardiologist who came to Indianapolis in the mid-1930s.  During the 1940s he became the first black doctor to practice at both City (now Wishard) and St. Vincent hospitals in Indianapolis.  Middleton married Easter Goodnight in 1947.  Four children, Zenobia, Harvey N., Jr., Ettra Marie, and Brenda Pandora, were born of this union.  He was a member of several organizations, including Flanner House, the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), United Negro College Fund, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  He was active with the YMCA at the local, national, and international level.

The collection includes correspondence; materials on medicines and hospitals; and information about organizations and civic groups to which Middleton was affiliated.  The papers especially reflect the doctor’s involvement with the Indianapolis Metropolitan, Senate Avenue, and Fall Creek Parkway YMCAs; Flanner House and the Morgan Health Center; Meharry Medical College and Middleton’s 50th class reunion; and the United Negro College Fund.

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MYERS, WILLIAM M. S. Papers, 1926–1995 (bulk 1940s, 1970–1995).  M 0741.  15 boxes. Collection guide online.  William Moses Samuel “Red” Myers (1914–1995) was born in Greenville, South Carolina.  The son of William M.S., Sr., and Laura Belle Johnson Myers, he moved to Indianapolis in 1920.  He attended elementary and secondary school in Indianapolis, graduating from Crispus Attucks High School in 1932.  Later Myers attended Indiana Central University (now University of Indianapolis) and the American Institute of Banking.  Myers married Erma Helen Adams on 15 November 1935.  Six children were born to this union.

From 1942 to 1968, Myers worked with the Indianapolis Fire Department.  Most of his time with the Fire Department, he was an engine chauffeur, operating the fire engine and fire pumps.  He was stationed at Firehouse 1 for 20 years and Firehouse 22 for six years.  The American Red Cross honored him for his work during the 31 October 1963 explosion disaster at the Indianapolis Coliseum. In 1968 William M.S. Myers began employment as a teller with the Indiana National Bank.  Later he worked as an instructor in the Teller Training School, as a supervisor of the Mail, Messenger and Inserter Services Department, and as a property management counselor in the Real Estate Department of the Trust Division.  He was a licensed real estate broker.  Previously, from 1955 to 1970, he owned Myers Real Estate Company.

Myers served on the board of several organizations and institutions.  His collection has materials that relate to the Civilian Conservation Corps, New Era Baptist Church, Downtown Optimist Club, Indianapolis Fire Department, Indiana Governor’s Conference on Libraries, the Indianapolis Public School Board, and the Little Red Door, an agency of the Marion County Cancer Society.

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NOLCOX, DELORES. Oral History Interview, 1979.  SC 2730, CT 1515. 1 folder, 1 cassette tape.  Collection guide online.  Lyles Station, a black farm community in Gibson County, Indiana, was established by Joshua and Sanford Lyles before the Civil War.  By the late 1800s the community had a post office, school, lumber mill, and church.  Delores Nolcox and her family, interviewed by Jean Spears, discuss Lyles Station.  The family also talks about Matthias Nolcox and other family members.  Includes transcript of interview.

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NOLCOX, MATTHIAS. Oral History Interview, 1979.  SC 2729, CT 1515. 1 folder, 1 cassette tape.  Collection guide online.  Matthias Nolcox (1886-1985) was a teacher and school administrator.  He completed undergraduate work at Indiana University and earned a doctorate from Harvard University.  He was the first principal at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis when it opened for black students in 1927.

The collection includes one cassette tape and transcript of an oral history interview of Matthias Nolcox conducted by Jean Spears.  Nolcox talks about growing up in Lyles Station, his family, educational background, and his time in Europe where he studied at Oxford.

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OSBORNE, BENJAMIN A. Papers, 1928-1986 (bulk 1972-1986).  M 0162, OM 328.  1 box, 2 oversize folders.  Collection guide online.  Benjamin Augustus Osborne (1898–1986) was born in the South American nation of British Guiana (now Guyana).  While a young man he moved to Indianapolis.  He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1927.  He graduated from the United States College of Chiropractic Medicine.  From 1935 to 1943 he was a probation officer with the Marion County Criminal Court.  He was elected Center Township Trustee in November 1966, a position he held until his death.  As a trustee Osborne was an advocate of poor relief through public works programs.

The collection contains a small amount of correspondence, mostly related to Osborne’s tenure as Center Township Trustee.  It also includes personal calendars, writings in Osborne’s hand, awards, a scrapbook, and a program booklet.  The 1979 scrapbook, a get-well gift from his staff, contains photographs of several workers at their stations, along with personal handwritten wishes requesting Osborne’s recovery and return to work.

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PATTERSON, FRANCES O. Papers, 1862–1969.  M 0470.  1 box.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Frances O. Fowlkes Patterson’s maternal grandparents, Charles and Lucy Tyree, migrated to Indianapolis from Tennessee in the mid-1870s.  Ten of the eleven Tyree children were born in Indianapolis.  Charles Tyree served with the United States Colored Infantry during the Civil War.

The collection documents the life of a family during the middle third of the twentieth century.  It consists of letters from Frances Fowlkes Patterson (1918–) and her brothers to their mother, Jennie Tyree Fowlkes.  Other family papers include birth and death records, business contracts, receipts and bills, divorce papers, and religious pamphlets.  Also included are documents dating back to the Civil War and a large collection of family photographs.

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REDD, GEORGE N. Collection, 1895–1950 (bulk 1915–1930).  M 0070.  1 box.  Collection guide online.  The George N. Redd family, including Daisy, Dandridge, Ruth, and Georgia, lived at 836 Pratt Street (later W. 9th Street) in Indianapolis.  George Redd (1874–1942) was a 33rd degree Mason and he operated a shoeshine parlor at 437 Indiana Avenue.

Most of the identifiable items in the collection appear to relate to the Redd family.  There are personal papers, including correspondence, a business card, an insurance book, and school papers prepared by Dandridge and Ruth Redd.  The collection contains materials relating to James E. Richardson, an African Methodist Episcopal minister in Kentucky.  Also included is an 1898 pastoral certificate, a letter written by Richardson in 1917, and a small scrapbook.  There are visual materials, mostly black-and-white images dating between 1895 and 1945.  There are several cabinet cards, snapshots, mechanically reproduced postcards, and a cartes de visite.

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RICHARDSON, HENRY J., Jr. Papers, 1910–1992.  M 0472, OMB 0028, BV 2627–2628.  33 boxes, 3 oversize boxes, 2 bound volumes.  Collection guide online.  Henry J. Richardson, Jr. (1902–1983), was an attorney and a leading civil rights advocate in Indiana.  In 1932 he, representing Marion County, and Robert Stanton from Lake County became the first African Americans elected to the Indiana State Legislature during the twentieth century.  Richardson married Roselyn V. Comer in 1938.  They had two sons, Henry J., III and Rodney C.  In 1949 Richardson was a leader in obtaining passage of Indiana’s school desegregation law.  He was active in several organizations including, the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association, Indiana State Real Estate Commission, United Negro College Fund, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Urban League.  He organized and helped found the Indianapolis affiliate of the Urban League in 1965.

The collection consists of correspondence with smaller amounts of printed matter, legal opinions, program booklets, scrapbooks, and clippings.  It gives an excellent overview of state civil rights strides through most of the twentieth century.  Of particular note is the amount of correspondence to and from prominent individuals.

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RICHARDSON, ROSELYN. Papers, 1900–1993.  M 0649, OM 131.  41 boxes, 5 oversized folders.  Collection guide online.  The widow of Henry J. Richardson, Jr., Roselyn Comer Richardson (1913–) has been active in numerous civic, religious, educational, and political organizations.  Soon after arriving in Indianapolis in 1938, as Henry’s bride, she served on the board of directors of the Phyllis Wheatley’s Young Women’s Christian Association, was co-director of the Intercollegiate Co-educational Club of the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association, and served as a director of the Flanner Guild.  During the 1970s Richardson directed the Career Sampling Program at Shortridge High School.  Both her sons, Henry III and Rodney C., graduated from Shortridge, their father’s alma mater.  They too became attorneys.

The papers reflect Roselyn Richardson’s active involvement with several institutions and organizations.  Especially prevalent are materials pertaining to the Career Sampling Program, Friends of the Indianapolis Urban League, American Friends Service Committee, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Browsers Book Club, and Dialogue Today (coalition between African American and Jewish women).  The collection contains an abundance of material related to current events (1950s–90s), with an emphasis on African Americans in Indianapolis.

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ROBERTS, ELIJAH. Papers, 1832–1972.  M 0325.  1 box.  Collection guide online.  Elijah Roberts (1795–1848) migrated from Northhampton County, North Carolina, to western Ohio in 1825.  By 1830 he and some of his relatives purchased government land and farmed a community known as Beech Settlement in Rush County.  After the rapid depletion of available land in Rush County, residents of the Beech and newcomers began to seek land farther west and north.  Elijah Roberts and his cousins, Willis and Hanson Roberts and Micajah Walden, ventured to Jackson Township in Hamilton County, making initial land purchases during the summer of 1835.  An abundance of the settlers in the township were surnamed Roberts and, the area became known as Roberts Settlement.

The materials in the collection mostly pertain to Elijah Roberts and other family members: son Peter, daughter Martha, and granddaughter Almary Roberts Wallace.  There is a copy of Elijah Roberts’s 1820 certificate of freedom and his last will and testament.  His many business papers spanning the middle third of the nineteenth century include tax receipts, land appraisals, and numerous promissory notes.

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SANDERS, MOZEL. Collection, 1978–1996.  SC 2637.  1 folder.  Collection guide online.  Mozel Sanders (1924–1988), the son of Moses and Bertha Sanders, was born in East St. Louis, Illinois.  Sanders accepted the call to the ministry in 1943.  During his early ministry he was a vocalist and recording artist who toured the country and preached revivals.  In 1959 he became the pastor of Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church in Indianapolis.

Sanders was best known for the founding of an annual citywide Thanksgiving dinner.  The dinner started in 1974 when Sanders and a few volunteers served a small group of people a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church.  By the late 1970s, the dinner activities moved to the Foster Motor Lodge (formerly located at 2154 N. Illinois St.).  Outgrowing the lodge, the Thanksgiving dinner moved to Arsenal Technical High School.  It has been estimated that in 1987, the last Thanksgiving before Sanders’s death, over 16,000 people were fed with the help of 200 volunteers.

The one-folder collection contains several items pertaining to Mozel Sanders.  There are program booklets that commemorate Sander’s 20th and 21st pastoral anniversaries; a 1978 church yearbook; and an obituary program and articles pertaining to Sanders being named the Indianapolis Star’s Man of the Year for 1988.

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SPEARS Family Papers, 1930–1986.  M 0488, OM 118.  3 boxes, 3 oversized folders.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Jean Douglas Spears (1925–) was born in Indianapolis.  Her parents were Louis Joseph Douglas and Marion Elizabeth Brabham Douglas Burch.  In 1946 Jean Douglas married Sherman Polley.  They had three children, one who died in infancy.  The surviving children were Claudia Anne and John Evan.  After their divorce, she married John Holliday Spears.  From this union one daughter, Lucia Marion, was born.  Jean Spears graduated from Crispus Attucks High School and Purdue University.  A retired schoolteacher, she has been involved with many community projects.  She recently founded Ransom Place Historic District and the Heritage Learning Center in Indianapolis.  The latter uses artifacts to showcase the history and heritage of Indianapolis African Americans.

The collection contains Jean Spears’s family papers, including materials relating to her parents, husband, children, and herself.  There are ownership lists, newsletters, and other items pertaining to Fox Lake Resort located in Steuben County, Indiana.  The resort was managed for several years by Spears’s mother.  There are also materials relating to the National Council of Negro Women, Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church, and Allen Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.

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STARKS, DEBORAH. Papers, 1948–1986.  M 0497.  1 box.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Deborah Starks (1950–) was born in Birmingham, Alabama.  Her parents were Beatrice and Jennie Godwin. In 1972 she moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana.  She married John Wesley Starks, and the couple moved to Churubusco, Indiana, in 1977.  While in Fort Wayne, Starks worked as a school/community liaison for the Fort Wayne community schools.

The collection contains materials from six women, collected in the Fort Wayne area during the Black Women in the Middle West Project.  The material was collected by Starks.  In addition to Starks, there are materials pertaining to Corrine Brooks, Maddy Bruce, Maxine C. Hall, Marjorie Wickliffe, and Genois Wilson.

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STEWART, GEORGE P. Papers, 1894–1924.  M 0556.  11 boxes.  Collection guide online.  George Pheldon Stewart (1874–1924) was born in Vincennes, Indiana.  He married Louisville native Fannie Belle Caldwell in 1898.  Six children were born to this union. Stewart co-founded the Indianapolis Recorder with Will Porter.  In 1899 Porter sold his share of the newspaper to Stewart.  The Stewart family owned the controlling interest until Eunice Trotter bought the newspaper in 1988.  George Stewart was active in several business, political, and fraternal organizations.  They included the Knights of Pythias, Negro Business League, Colored Republican Committee, and the Indiana Negro Welfare League.

The collection comprises 11 boxes divided into two parts. The first part contains personal papers pertaining to Stewart. It consists of general and political correspondence; legal papers; newspaper clippings, and information about Stewart’s organizational affiliations. Records related to the Indianapolis Recorder, a newspaper that catered to a statewide black community, make up the majority of the collection.  These materials include correspondence, advertisements, files regarding sales agents, and receipts from companies with whom the Indianapolis Recorder did business.  The six boxes of receipts provide a view of the business workings of the newspaper.

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TANDY, OPAL L. Papers, 1951–1983.  SC 2485.  4 folders.  Collection guide online.  At an early age Opal Tandy (1917–1983), a Hopkinsville, Kentucky, native moved to Indianapolis.  A Crispus Attucks High School graduate and a World War II veteran, he served as a Marion County deputy coroner for two years.  In 1956 he unsuccessfully sought election to the Indiana House of Representatives.  Tandy started his newspaper career during the 1930s. He wrote editorials and crime stories for the Indianapolis Recorder.  In the 1950s he wrote for the Hoosier Herald. Gaining control of the newspaper in 1960, he changed its name to the Indiana Herald.  Tandy’s widow, Mary Bryant Tandy, has published the weekly newspaper since her husband’s death.

The collection includes correspondence, certificates, and news clippings.  Two 1971 letters to and from personnel at the United States Army War College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, pertaining to Tandy’s participation in an annual National Strategy Seminar are of special interest.

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TEMONEY, RUTH MARIE. Collection, 1891-1985 (bulk 1958-1984).  M 0604.  1 box.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Ruth Marie Temoney (1947–) was the Kokomo, Indiana, coordinator for the Black Women in the Middle West (BWMW) Project, a collecting effort to gather primary source materials of African American Women in Illinois and Indiana.  She worked as a teacher with the Kokomo Center Schools and joined the Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church.  There are materials pertaining to the Siete Amigas, Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church, and the Order of Eastern Star.

The collection is comprised of the materials gathered by Temoney for the BWMW Project.  It contains biographical information related to African American women activists, as well as materials pertaining to clubs, churches, and other organizations in Kokomo.

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TINSLEY, ALICE D. Papers, 1962–1985.  M 0537, OM 334.  1 box, 1 oversize folder.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Alice D. Coleman Tinsley (1927–), the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. George Coleman, Sr., was reared in New Orleans.  In 1946 she married Charles H. Tinsley of Indianapolis.  They had five children: Charles, Jr., Donald, Alan, Tyrone, and Eula.  For most of her adult life Tinsley has served as an advocate for the multiply handicapped.  In 1965 she was instrumental in the formation of the Indiana Association for the Multiply Handicapped Deaf, a parent advocacy group.  (The name changed to the Indiana State Association for the Multiple Handicapped and Sensory Impaired in 1985.)

The collection contains material related to Tinsley’s advocacy work for the multiple-handicapped in Indiana.  It includes her correspondence dated from 1962 to 1985; a significant amount to and from Indiana legislators and Gov. Roger D. Branigin.  There is also a report about Operation Tripod (Toward Rehabilitation Involvement by Parents of the Deaf), a national organization in which Tinsley served as the Indiana representative.

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WALKER, BERNICE. Collection, 1931–1984.  M 0541.  6 boxes.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide in library.  Bernice Walker (1905–) was born in Anderson, Indiana.  She attended Bookwood College in New York, majoring in industrial relations and psychology.  Walker worked for Wainwright Music Camp, the Fort Benjamin Harrison Army Finance Center, and the Internal Revenue Service.

The collection contains biographical material; correspondence; and materials related to the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, women’s missionary societies, Alpha Pi Chi sorority (a national service organization), Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, and other organizations.

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WALKER, MADAM C. J. Papers, 1910–1980.  M 0399, OMB 0022, BV 2667–2678.  101 manuscript boxes, 3 oversize manuscript boxes, 5 photograph boxes, 2 oversize photograph boxes, 12 bound volumes, and 2 artifacts.  Collection guide online. Collection on deposit.  Sarah Breedlove (1867–1919) was born in Delta, Louisiana.  Orphaned at an early age, she moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi, to live with her sister.  She married Moses McWilliams, and to this union one daughter, A’Lelia, was born.  McWilliams died in 1887.  Sarah Breedlove and her daughter moved to St. Louis, where she worked as a laundress and improved her education by attending night school.  She experimented with different mixtures and developed a formula that stimulated hair growth.  She developed a business and began selling her hair products door-to-door in St. Louis.  She later moved to Denver, and in 1906 she married newspaperman Charles Walker, divorcing him in 1912.

In 1910 she moved to Indianapolis.  She incorporated her business as the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company the following year.  Her business developed and sold a full line of products for growing and beautifying hair.  She established beauty schools and parlors in several cities.  She provided two ways for black women to make money: as beauty culturists and sales agents.  She had several agents around the United States and as far away as Barbados.

The collection is divided into three major divisions.  They are the records and correspondence of the company’s principal officers; the company’s business records; and the records of the businesses associated with the company.  More specifically, the collection includes attorney Freeman B. Ransom’s correspondence with Madam Walker and her daughter, A’Lelia Walker Robinson Kennedy, and others in his capacity as business manager of the Walker Company; business and personal papers of Madam Walker and A’Lelia Kennedy; and correspondence of other company officers.  The bulk of the material spans from 1911 to 1950.  Company documents include correspondence, financial records, advertisements, press releases, and convention materials.  There are also records pertaining to the Walker beauty schools and the Walker Company Benevolent Association, as well as materials relating to the businesses that were located in the Walker building, including the Walker Theatre, Walker Casino, Walker Realty Company, and the Coffee Pot.  The Walker Manufacturing Company records are most abundant for the period from 1950 to 1970.

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WARREN, STANLEY. Papers, ca. 1938–1995.  M 0708.  2 boxes.  Collection guide online.  Stanley Warren (1932–), son of Stanley and Rachel Johnson Warren, was born in Indianapolis.  He attended local schools, graduating from Crispus Attucks in 1951.  He joined the United States Army during the Korean Conflict.  He returned to Indianapolis where he matriculated at Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis), graduating in 1959.  He continued his education at Indiana University, receiving a masters degree in teacher education (with a concentration in anthropology) in 1964; a specialist degree in secondary education and administration in 1971; and a doctorate in higher education in 1973.  After working with Project Upward Bound for a couple of years, Warren became director of Black Studies at DePauw University.  Concurrently, he taught in the Education Department, receiving tenure and a full professorship in 1985.  He retired from DePauw in 1992, working as Dean of Academic Affairs during his last year.

The collection contains correspondence, programs, and news clippings.  There are copies of articles and several unpublished manuscripts written by Warren.  Most of the manuscripts pertain to educational topics including student rights, higher education, teacher education, and public schools.

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WATERS, PHYLLIS WHEATLEY. Papers, 1910–1971.  M 0589.  2 boxes.  Collection guide online.  Phyllis Wheatley Waters (ca. 1898–1973), a native of West Virginia, lived most of her life in Indiana.  She received a BA in French from the University of Michigan in 1917.  Later she earned a masters degree at Butler University.  Following graduation from Michigan, she headed up the Language Department at West Virginia State University.  She relocated to Indianapolis where she worked nearly 50 years as a teacher with the public school system.  The last three years with Indianapolis Public Schools she served as a psychological consultant to fifteen grade schools.

The collection contains correspondence dating from 1910 to 1971.  Much of the correspondence is written between Waters and family members, most notably Phil Waters, her father.  There are about a dozen letters (dated from 1910 to 1922) addressed to Phyllis W. Waters from journalist T. Thomas Fortune.  Signing his letters “Uncle Tim,” Fortune offers advice to Waters, often writing from the offices of the Washington Eagle and Norfolk Journal and Guide.  In addition to the correspondence, there are materials in the collection that document Waters’s property ownership, philanthropy, and her organizational affiliations.

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WATTS, ROBERT AUSTIN. Court Transcripts, 1948.  M 0621.  2 boxes.  Collection guide online.  Robert Austin Watts (1922–1951) was indicted for first-degree murder in the shotgun slaying of Mary Lois Burney by the Marion County grand jury on 19 November 1947Watts was first tried for the Burney murder in Shelby County in January 1948, after a change of venue.  He was found guilty and was sentenced to die by electrocution on 10 May 1948.  After the defense filed a new trial motion, the Indiana Supreme Court postponed the date of execution twice.  In June 1949 the United States Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Watts after reversing the decision of the state Supreme Court.  The trial was ordered on the grounds that blacks had been systematically excluded from the grand jury and that Watts had been coerced into making a confession under illegal conditions.  Watts was again found guilty of murder in Bartholomew County.  After another execution date was set and postponed, a final execution date was set.  Watts was executed at Michigan City on 16 January 1951.

The collection consists of court transcripts pertaining to the 1948 State of Indiana vs. Robert Austin Watts murder case.  The murder case (#4723) was tried in the Shelby Circuit Court before Judge Harold G. Barger.  The transcripts were originally bound in four volumes; their original order has been retained.  There is a chronological and alphabetical index to the 1,715 pages of court transcripts.  The last folder in the collection contains a Supreme Court brief dated October 1948.

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WHITESIDE, BIRDIE L. Papers, 1944-1986 (bulk 1980-1986).  M 0658.  4 boxes.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Birdie Mary Lee Whiteside (1911–) was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  After receiving a Bachelor of Missions degree from Simmons University in Louisville in 1949, she moved to Indianapolis.  In 1953 Whiteside founded the Guiding Light Christian Service, a tape ministry designed to take recorded religious sermons to the sick and shut-in.  The organization was incorporated in Indianapolis in 1958.  During the 1950s Whiteside began preparing and delivering Easter baskets and Christmas socks/stockings to shut-ins, as part of the organization’s service.

The collection includes 9 scrapbooks and 16 folders that contain correspondence, photographs, program booklets, certificates of appreciation, and news clippings, mostly pertaining to Birdie L. Whiteside and her work with the tape ministry.

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WILLIAMS, LUCILLE LUCAS. Collection, 1915–1982.  M 0449.  9 boxes.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide in library.  Lucille Lucas Williams (1897–1982), the daughter of Lemuel and Anna Lucas, was born in Ghent, Kentucky, and spent most of her life in Muncie, Indiana.  Williams worked as a day nursery director, operated a grocery store, and spent time as a social services director.  She was affiliated with several religious, civic, and social organizations.

The collection contains personal and organizational materials related to Lucille Lucas Williams and her many activities.  Family correspondence includes letters from Williams’s first husband, James V. Johnson, to his mother, Capitola Johnson.  The collection is arranged topically and chronologically within subject areas.  The general topics include religious institutions, clubs, social services, and organizations.  There are materials related to the Shafer African Methodist Episcopal Church, Church Women United, National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, Order of Eastern Star, Munsyana Day Nursery, and Action, Inc.

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WILLIS, CASSIUS M. C. Papers, 1895–1956.  M 0630, OM 291.  1 box, 3 oversize folders.  Collection guide online.  Cassius M. Clay Willis (1851–1920) was born in Kirkwood, Missouri, in 1851.  While a young man he moved to Indianapolis.  He and his wife, Kate Barnes Willis (1859–1940), had several children.  They included Estella (1880), Beulah (1882), Jessie (1884), Adele (1888), twins Arthur and Ada (1893), and Herbert (1894).  Willis founded the C.M.C. Willis Mortuary in 1890.  His daughter Beulah and his son Herbert assisted Willis with the business.  Though no longer in the Willis family, the mortuary continues to operate at its longtime location, 632 N. West Street in Indianapolis.

The collection contains biographical notes from family genealogical research, information about the Afro-American Realty Company, newspaper advertisements for the Willis Mortuary, and photographs related to the Cassius M. Clay Willis family and mortuary.  Also included are Willis’s 1895 diploma from the Massachusetts School of Embalming; a 1931 Indiana embalmer’s license, and a biographical pictorial of Herbert Willis.

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WILSON, FLORABELLE WILLIAMS. Collection, 1910–1995 (bulk 1980s).  M 0731.  2 boxes.  Collection guide online.  Florabelle Williams Wilson (1927–), daughter of James S. and Hattie Virginia Hollis Williams, was born in Indianapolis.  She attended the local public schools, graduating from Crispus Attucks High School in 1944.  She received a BS in Education from Indiana Central University (now University of Indianapolis) in 1949.  She taught at Indianapolis Public School (IPS) #23 for eight years, later returning to school to work on a graduate degree in library science.  In 1961, Wilson received an MLS from Indiana University.  She married John A. Wilson (27 August 192022 June 1990) in 1964.  From 1957 to 1971 Wilson worked as an assistant librarian at Indiana Central University.  She was director of the library from 1971 until her retirement in 1982.  The first full-time African American faculty member at Indiana Central University, she was also the first black director of an academic library in Indiana.

Much of the collection pertains to Indianapolis individuals and families, churches, and organizations.  It is especially useful for researchers seeking information on the history of African Americans on the south side of Indianapolis.

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WOLFOLK, LAURA J. Collection, 1918–1981.  M 0535.  1 box.  Collection guide online.  Laura J. Wolfolk (1882–1977) was born in Greencastle, Putnam County, Indiana, the daughter of Private Taylor and Rhoda Wolfolk.  An educator, Wolfolk taught for forty years in the Indianapolis Public School system.  This collection contains materials relating to Wolfolk’s career and social activities.

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YORE, MARY D. Papers, 1918–1985.  M 0542.  1 box.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Mary Donna Baker Blake Yore (1931–) was born at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana.  The daughter of Franklin L. Baker, Sr. (1891–1973) and Nellie Cook Baker (ca. 1900–34), she grew up in Muncie.  Her grandfather, Rev. Franklin Pierce Baker (1860–1928), moved to Evansville, Indiana in 1880.  Rev. Baker pastored numerous African Methodist Episcopal (AME) churches in Illinois and Indiana, including the Bethel AME Church in Muncie.  Yore has been active in gathering her family’s history, having served as editor of the Baker-Cook families’ newsletter, Family Lines.

Most of the materials in the collection pertain to the Franklin L. Baker, Sr., family.  There are documents, correspondence, compiled genealogies, newsletters, and photographs.

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ZEIGLER, SARAH P. Scrapbook, ca. 1880–1996.  M 0683.  1 box.  Collection guide onlineSarah Parham Zeigler (1902–1996), the daughter of Charles and Lillie Alexander Parham, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Zeigler completed her early education in Ohio.  She received Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Science degrees from Butler University.  In 1938, she married P. Hobson Zeigler, who preceded her in death.  Zeigler was a teacher and administrator in the Indianapolis Public Schools.

The collection consists of material, mostly pertaining to Sarah P. Zeigler, her life and activities.  There is a small amount of correspondence, photographs, and news clippings.  Most of the collection pertains to Zeigler’s association with the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association, and the Indianapolis Public Schools.  Eleanor Roosevelt visited Indianapolis in December 1953, under the auspices of the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association Monster Meetings.  Delivering a message, “The United Nations and You,” she spoke at the Murat Temple.  A program, photographs (including Roosevelt, Zeigler, et al.), and news clippings surrounding the event are in the collection.

 

Organizations, Institutions, and Projects

 

BLACK HISTORY EXHIBIT. Photographs, 1981. P 0109. 42 color slides, 4 black-and-white prints, and 1 black-and-white negative. No collection guide available.  The slides were made in 1981 for a Black History exhibit at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and include portraits of entertainers and lecturers. The prints include an image of the 1906 ABC baseball team. This item was photographed from a newspaper image that appeared in the Indianapolis Recorder in 1906. The negative shows the congregation of the Bethel A. M. E. Church posing for a group portrait in 1919.

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BLACK WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE WEST PROJECT. Records, 1932–1986  M 0530.  14 boxes.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  During the 1970s the National Council of Negro Women, Indianapolis Section collected manuscript materials about the lives of African American women in Indiana.  Unsolicited, two members of the organization, schoolteachers Virtea Downey and Shirley Herd, delivered these materials to Darlene Clark Hine, a Purdue University history professor and vice provost.  Many of the items were used in the publication of When the Truth Is Told: A History of Black Women’s Culture and Community in Indiana, 1875–1950, written by Hine in 1981. The relationship between Hine, Downey, and Herd was the impetus for the Black Women in the Middle West Project.

The BWMW Project was a collecting effort to gather primary source materials of African American women in Illinois and Indiana.  The project, spearheaded by Hine, with assistance from Patrick Bidelman at Purdue University, was conducted in three phases from 1977 to 1985.  Project records are located at five repositories within two states including the Indiana Historical Society (I) [also houses the project’s administrative records], Calumet Regional Archives, and the Northern Indiana Historical Society in Indiana and the Chicago Historical Society and the Illinois State Historical Society in Illinois.

Additional information about the project is contained in The Black Women in the Middle West Project: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, Illinois and Indiana (E 185.6 .B53 1986), edited by Hine, et al., and Wilma L. Gibbs’s article, “In Retrospect: The Black Women in the Middle West Project at the Indiana Historical Society,” in Indiana’s African-American Heritage: Essays from Black History News & Notes (E 185.93 .I4 B52 1993).

The collection is comprised of the administrative files of the Black Women in the Middle West Project.  The files include biographical materials related to the project collectors, planning documents, financial records including budgets, the National Endowment for the Humanities application, and general correspondence.

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BLACK WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE WEST PROJECT. Miscellaneous Records, 1890–1984  M 0499, OM 301.  1 box, 2 oversize folders.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  The material contained in this collection represents an assortment of information collected from around the state during the Black Women in the Middle West Project (See previous entry for details about the project.).  Of particular note are materials related to Helen Whitelowe and the founding of the Soul People Repertory Company, the Indiana State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, and Indianapolis churches.

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BROWSERS BOOK CLUB (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). History and Scrapbook, 1995–2000.  SC 2676, BV 3377.  1 volume, 1 folder.  Collection guide online. The Browsers Book Club dates their founding to 1946.  The initial format of the monthly club meeting included a description of the author, a review of the book, and a group discussion of the book.  Browsers review seven books annually.  The August meeting features a luncheon with a speaker, usually an African American woman.  The annual business meeting is conducted in September, and a celebration with friends and spouses is held in December.

The collection is comprised of one folder and one bound volume.  The folder contains news clippings and a short history of the book club written by Roselyn Richardson.  The large scrapbook, "Browsers Book Club Celebrates 50 Years of Reading," has six pages.  The first page displays group and individual photographs of club members.  The remaining five pages represent 10-year spans of club activity from 1945 to 1999.  Each of the five intervals is denoted by a theme.  In addition to providing a major theme, each page includes topics pertaining to issues and book titles of the era.

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CITIZENS FORUM Inc. Records, 1962–1985.  M 0425, CT 704–712.  12 boxes, 9 audiocassettes.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Citizens Forum, organized in 1964 by Mattie Coney to get an open housing ordinance passed, disbanded in 1984.  Organized also to improve the condition of black neighborhoods in Indianapolis, it became an interracial self-help program that served as an umbrella for city block clubs.  Various programs were administered through the block clubs including De-RAT-ification Campaign, Dogwood Tree Caravan, Concerts in the Park, Adopt-a-Park, and Rake-a-thons.  The Helping Hand Program, begun in 1973, was the most widely successful program, spreading to other Indiana cities and towns and to other states.

The records contain minutes from the board of directors meetings, correspondence, constitutions and by laws, and financial records.  Also included are records of local block clubs, Citizens Forum newsletters, and newspaper clippings about the organization and its founder.

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CRISPUS ATTUCKS HIGH SCHOOL SCRAPBOOK, 1950–1996.  BV 3469, SC 2697.  1 bound volume, 2 folders.  Collection guide online.  In 1955, led by Oscar Robertson, Crispus Attucks High School became the first Indianapolis school to win the state basketball championship.  The school repeated the honor the following year.  Coached by Ray Crowe, the school’s basketball team had won 45 consecutive games when they were named the 1956 Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) champions.  Opened as a high school for African American students in 1927, Crispus Attucks was banned from playing in the segregated IHSAA state basketball tournament until 1943.

The collection is composed of a scrapbook (BV 3469) and two folders of materials         (SC 2697) related to Crispus Attucks High School basketball teams.  The scrapbook chronicles the 1950-51 basketball season with newspaper articles from the Indianapolis Recorder, Indianapolis Times, Indianapolis News, and the Indianapolis Star.  There are also some news clippings and some miscellaneous items from other basketball seasons, namely 1951–52, 1954–55, 1955–56 and 1958–59.  Miscellaneous items include tickets, programs, scorecards, and cheerleading yells. 

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DIALOGUE TODAY (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Records, 1984–2000.  M 0775.  5 boxes, 1 box color photographs.  Collection guide online.  In 1984 Theresa Guise, Diane Meyer Simon, and Carole Stein formed a coalition between African American and Jewish women in Indianapolis.  When the organization incorporated in 1987, Dialogue Today stated as its purpose: “To consider and deal with common problems through a coalition of Black and Jewish women.”

In an effort to keep informed, the women stayed abreast of current events, had book talks, attended lectures, and planned thematic programs, including annual retreats.  Two issues that captured their attention were racism and anti-Semitism.  They discussed hate groups, myths and stereotypes about their two groups, problems in Africa and the Middle East, as well as the United States, and concerns facing women in society.  Dialogue members saw their role as advocacy and working to make conditions better for groups within Indianapolis. 

The collection is ordered by several series: Incorporation Papers and Minutes, Correspondence, Annual Reports, Directories, Committees, Programs and Financial Records, Newsletters and News Clippings, and Topic. Materials are filed chronologically.  This allows for the reconstruction of materials that pertain to a specific presidential era. There are a limited amount of photographs in the collection, arranged according to their subject matter.

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ECONOMY ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY Records, 1840.  SC 0021.  1 folder. (Original documents in the Lindley Collection, Earlham College).  No collection guide available.  Established in 1840, the Economy Anti-Slavery Society was an auxiliary to the Indiana State Anti-Slavery Society.  It was located in Wayne County, Indiana.  The collection contains the constitution and minutes of the organization.

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FEDERATION OF ASSOCIATED CLUBS, Inc. Records, 1937–1978.  M 0429.  10 boxes.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  The Federation of Associated Clubs (FAC) was founded in 1937 by Starling W. James.  An umbrella organization for African American clubs, the FAC actively addressed educational, social, civic, and economic issues concerning African Americans in Indianapolis.  It advocated causes through scholarships, petitions, civic gatherings, and political campaigns.  The club annually toured many places in the United States and several foreign countries.

Most of the collection materials reflect the social thrust of the organization.  The collection contains correspondence, minutes, committee reports, program booklets, financial records, newsletters, journals, and newspaper clippings.  A brief history of the club, 1937–75, and an overview of employment for blacks in 1948 provide background information about African Americans in Indianapolis.

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FLANNER HOUSE (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Laundry School Instructions, 1937. SC 2692.  1 folder.  Collection guide online.  Flanner House, a social service agency, was organized in 1898 in an effort to aid a black, rural, and migrant population adjust to an urban setting.  It was named after benefactor Frank W. Flanner, a Quaker mortician.  Since 1979 Flanner House has been located at 2424 Dr. Martin Luther King Street. 

The collection contains instructions prepared by Maybelle King of the Flanner House Laundry School.  The seven sheets instruct students on the correct method for washing silk stockings and corsets.  There is background information on the use of hard and soft water for laundering purposes, and a detailed description of the groups of stains (animal, vegetable, and mineral) and methods for removing them.  The instructions also include a discussion of caring for various fabrics—cotton, linen, wool, and rayon.

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FLANNER HOUSE. Records, 1946–1954.  M 0513, OMB 035.  2 boxes, 1 oversized box.  Collection guide online.  Flanner House, a social service agency, was organized in 1898 in an effort to aid a black, rural, and migrant population adjust to an urban setting.  It was named after benefactor Frank W. Flanner, a Quaker mortician.  A charter member of the Community Chest, the organization is now a member of Community Centers of Indianapolis.  Since 1979 Flanner House has been located at 2424 Dr. Martin Luther King Street.  Its four earlier locations (Rhode Island, West, Missouri, and Illinois streets) were also on the near northwest side of Indianapolis.

The collection was donated by descendants of Fred Reeve, who served as the director of the Flanner House Division of Self-Help Services during the 1940s and 1950s.  It consists primarily of monthly reports of the division and reports related to various projects.

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FORTNIGHTLY LITERARY CLUB. Records, 1927–1990.  M 0585.  1 box.  Collection guide online.  The Fortnightly Literary Club was founded in Indianapolis in 1923.  According to the club’s constitution, the organization’s purpose is to review and discuss new books, world problems, current events, and other subjects of cultural value.

The organization’s records include correspondence, a minutes book, loose minutes, and 28 yearbooks numbered irregularly from 1927 to 1983.

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FREETOWN VILLAGE: SEAMSTRESS, WASHERWOMAN, BARBER, ROOTWOMAN, 1998.  SC 2693.  1 folder.  Collection guide online.  Freetown Village is a living history museum that explores the lives of African Americans in an 1870 mythical community in Indianapolis.  The members of the museum company depict composite characters that lived during the post-Civil War era.  The idea for the museum was conceived by founding and executive director, Ophelia Umar Wellington, in 1980. The Freetown Village administrative office and museum store is located at the Madame Walker Theatre Center in Indianapolis.

The collection contains one project abstract and a forty-five-page research paper authored by Lisa Lewis during 1998.  The abstract provides the search strategy used to research four trades.  The research paper examined the role of the trades giving them some context related to late nineteenth century African Americans. 

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GRAND BODY OF THE SISTERS OF CHARITY. Records, 1912-1977 (bulk 1930s).   M 0619.  5 boxes.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  The Grand Body of the Sisters of Charity was organized in 1876 in response to the needs of a migrant African American population settling in Indiana from the South after the Civil War.  Early founders and officers of the organization included Celeste Allen, Eliza Goff, Ada Goins, Beulah Wright Porter, and Hulda Bates Webb.  From its inception, the purpose of the organization was to provide general support to those in need.  Soon after the turn of the century the focus of the statewide group was to establish a hospital in Indianapolis.  According to a notice in the Indianapolis Recorder, the hospital opened in June 1911.

The collection contains records of the organization, including correspondence, constitutions and by laws, minutes, program booklets, news clippings, and financial documents.

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HARLIN, HORTENSE. “The Indianapolis Recorder: A History of a Negro Weekly Newspaper” (1951).  SC 1886.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  Hortense Harlin’s Indiana University master’s thesis is an overview of the history of the Indianapolis Recorder.  The thesis contains a history of the newspaper; information about staff backgrounds and the paper’s treatment of local and national issues; and a description of the business operation of the newspaper.

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HARRIS BROTHERS STUDIO. Collection, ca. 1930s. P 0154. No collection guide available.  Six black-and-white portraits and 3 cellulose nitrate negatives dating from ca. 1930s. These images of African American adults were made at the Harris Brothers Studio on Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis.

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INDIANA ASSOCIATION OF COLORED MEN. Records, 1916.  M 0631, OM 292.  1 box, 1 oversize folder.  Collection guide online.  The Indiana Association of Colored Men was headquartered at 426 West North Street in Indianapolis in 1916. Nahum D. Brascher served as executive secretary.  In February 1916 the association sponsored an Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass memorial program to eulogize both men through presentations made by two speakers.  James A. Watson, Rushville resident and candidate for the 1916 Indiana Republican primary for United States senator, immortalized Lincoln, and Robert H. Terrell, a Washington, D. C., judge, paid homage to Douglass.

The collection includes letters, political broadsides and leaflets, program booklets, and newspaper clippings, most of which pertain to the Lincoln and Douglass memorial program.  There are letters that acknowledge that the association commissioned Indianapolis artist John Hardrick to draw portraits of Douglass and Lincoln that were displayed at the memorial and later donated to the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association.

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INDIANAPOLIS ASYLUM FOR FRIENDLESS COLORED CHILDREN. Records, 1870–1922. M 0165, BV 1501–1509, F 1292–1299. 14 boxes, 9 bound volumes, 8 reels of microfilm.  Collection guide online. A group of Indianapolis Quakers founded the Indianapolis Asylum for Friendless Colored Children in 1869.  The institution cared for the destitute children of a migrant black population, many who had moved to the North after the Civil War. Initial funding for the orphanage came from the Western Yearly Meeting, several philanthropists, and the Marion County Welfare Department.  After opening, the institution accepted children from the entire state.

The collection contains the records of the orphanage, including minute books of the Board of Women Managers, constitution and by laws, records of admissions and deaths, records of children from counties other than Marion, and treasurers’ annual reports.  There are also papers pertaining to 674 children, arranged alphabetically by last name.  Each record gives the child’s name, the dates covered by the papers, and death date of the child, if death occurred while the child was a resident at the orphanage.

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INDIANAPOLIS MODEL CITIES PROGRAM. Records, 1970-1982 (bulk 1970-1971).  M 0664, OM 0332.  3 boxes, 3 oversize folders.  Collection guide onlineThe Indianapolis Model Cities Program was an outgrowth of a 1966 Congressional Act called the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act.  This Act provided financial assistance for cities that wanted to solve neighborhood problems with new ideas and local agencies.  The Model Cities program began in 1970 under the administration of Mayor Richard G. Lugar (later senator), and terminated in 1971.

The bulk of the collection dates from 1970 to 1971 and consists of plans and reports about the program.

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INDIANAPOLIS MUSIC PROMOTERS. Records, 1903-1977 (bulk 1945-1977).  M 0635.  1 box.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  The Indianapolis Music Promoters (IMP) was founded in 1919, as a branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM).  Adelaide Thornton Riley and Ellen Thomas Merriwether, who served as first president of the IMP, established the branch after attending an organizational meeting of the national association in Washington, D. C.  The purpose of the club was to encourage the members to pursue musical study and to foster musical talents among youth.  Many of the club members directed musical groups at local churches, schools, and businesses.  Programs were performed regularly at Caleb Mills Hall, Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association, Indiana War Memorial, Clowes Memorial Hall, and the Christian Theological Seminary.

The IMP records include correspondence, yearbooks, and program booklets.  There are also materials related to the NANM.  They include correspondence, program booklets, and the organization’s plans for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City.

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INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER. Collection, circa 1900–1987.  P 0303.  182 boxes, 1 box printed and graphics, 1 oversized box.  Collection guide online.  George Pheldon Stewart and William H. Porter established the Indianapolis Recorder, an African American newspaper, in 1895.  Stewart bought Porter’s share of the business in 1899.  Fannie Caldwell Stewart became the owner and publisher of the Recorder after her husband’s death in 1924, and Marcus C. Stewart became managing editor. Marcus C. Stewart was owner and editor of the Recorder at the time of his death in 1983. Eunice Trotter purchased the business from the Stewart family in 1988. Trotter sold the Recorder to William G. Mays in 1990.

The Indianapolis Recorder Collection contains black-and-white and color photographs; printed material; manuscripts; and ink, pencil, and mechanically reproduced drawings dating from circa 1900 to 1987. The collection is divided into two series. Series 1 dates from circa 1900 to 1983, with most items dating from circa 1950 to 1979. Series 2 dates from 1980 to 1981, and from 1983 to 1987, with a small number of photographs from the 1960s and 1970s. There are no photographs in the collection dating from 1982.

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INDIANAPOLIS URBAN LEAGUE. Records, 1933–1983.  M 0476.  151 boxes.  Collection guide online.  The Indianapolis Urban League (IUL), an interracial, nonpartisan, nonprofit, and charitable organization was incorporated in December 1965.  An independent affiliate of the National Urban League, IUL is an advocate for the poor, blacks, and other minority groups.  It is charged with eliminating racial discrimination.  Most of the work of the organization is performed under the auspices of three program departments: Human Services, Community Education, and Education and Employment.  These programs address issues that relate to housing, health, welfare, criminal justice, education, and economic development.

The collection contains records of the Association of Merit Employment, a job opportunity program, founded in 1952 by the American Friends Service Committee.  The bulk of the collection includes the records of the Indianapolis Urban League through 1980, mostly centered on its employment, social, and educational advocacy.  The organization’s focus is on job training and employment.  Additional materials on school desegregation, public housing, and a broad range of other issues are documented by minutes, correspondence, reports, and publications.

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LOCKEFIELD GARDEN APARTMENTS (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Records, 1935–1954.  M 0786.  1 box, 1 oversize folder, 1 artifact.  Collection guide online.  The Lockefield Garden Apartments were built during the late 1930s, as part of the Public Works Administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal era.  The first housing project in Indianapolis, it was one of about fifty federal apartment complexes developed in twenty states to address slum clearance and the need for low-rent housing during the time period. Designed by the architectural firm of Russ and Harrison, Lockefield Garden Apartments was located on twenty-two acres bound by Indiana Avenue on the north, Blake Street on the east, North Street on the south, and Locke Street on the west.  The project boasted 748 units offering African American residents a modern, community-oriented, and modestly priced place to live.  The overall plan for the project incorporated a pre-existing elementary school (William D. McCoy Public School #24, located at 908 W. North Street) with the apartment buildings, commercial properties, offices, a landscaped mall, playgrounds, and many open spaces.

The materials in this collection are from the management files of the Lockefield Garden Apartments.  A small representation of the office files date from 1935 through 1954.  They provide a glimpse of the beginning of the building project and the early development of the apartment complex as a community-oriented residence center. 

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ME-DE-PHAR GUILD. Records, 1944–1989.  M 0761.  1 box.  Collection guide online.  Founded in 1944, the Me-De-Phar Guild included the wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters of physicians, dentists, and pharmacists.  Membership now also includes spouses of retired and deceased medical professionals and medical students.  The guild was created to promote good health facilities, to establish better relations between the community and health professionals, and to provide financial aid to women wishing to enter a branch of the allied health fields.

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NATIONAL BLACK POLITICAL CONVENTION (1972: GARY, IND.). Collection, 1972–1973.  SC 2643.  6 folders.  Collection guide onlineOn 10–12 March 1972, several thousand African Americans gathered in Gary, Indiana, for the National Black Political Convention.  The convention pulled together a cross section of people representing a wide range of political philosophies.  Held at Westside High School, the event brought together Republicans, Democrats, nationalists, Socialists, and independents.  The steering committee consisted of Gary mayor, Richard G. Hatcher, U.S. representative Charles C. Diggs, and poet Imaru Baraka (also known as LeRoi Jones).  The convention was a culmination of a series of earlier meetings, mostly held in 1971.  The purpose of the meetings and convention was to develop a unified political strategy for African Americans from 1972 forward.

The collection relates, mostly, to the National Black Political Convention.  Of particular note are a conference program, a fact sheet describing the history of the organization, an outline of the delegate selection process in Indiana, and a transcript of a speech attributed to Carl B. Stokes, former mayor of Cleveland.

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NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NEGRO WOMEN, INDIANAPOLIS SECTION. Records, 1915-1985 (bulk 1982-1985).  M 0539, OM 280.  8 boxes, 2 oversize folders.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  According to its constitution, the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Indianapolis Section was established to promote unity of action among all women in matters affecting the educational, cultural, economic, social, and political life of the community; to collect, interpret, disseminate, and preserve information affecting women and girls; and to work for the complete elimination of any and all forms of discrimination and segregation based on race, religion, color, national origin, and sex.  In 1979 members of the organization, namely schoolteachers Virtea Downey and Shirley Herd, worked with Purdue University professor and vice provost, Darlene Clark Hine, to publish When the Truth Is Told: A History of Women’s Culture and Community in Indiana, 1879-1950.  The book was the impetus for the Black Women in the Middle West Project, a collecting effort to gather photographs and manuscripts of African American women in Illinois and Indiana during the 1980s.

Like its national organization founded by Mary MacLeod Bethune in 1935, NCNW, Indianapolis Section performs many service activities.  The organization has sponsored youth groups; a Mental Health Gift Lift; programs about weight control, alcoholism, voter registration, volunteerism, and self-awareness; a Newcomer Tea for all women new to the Indianapolis area; and annual black history observances.  The organization has also completed service projects in conjunction with other organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the United Negro College Fund.

The collection contains materials related to the National Council of Negro Women, Indianapolis Section.  The materials include a constitution and by laws, correspondence, agendas and minutes, reports, directories, brochures, and yearbooks.  The last several boxes contain information about various Hoosier African American women and numerous local organizations and institutions.  Of special note are 16 folders that pertain to the Top Ladies of Distinction, an Indianapolis social club.

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PHYLLIS WHEATLEY YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION. Records, 1897–1955.  M 0494, OM 300.  1 box, 1 folder.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide in library.  Preliminary meetings of the Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association were held in Indianapolis from 1914 to 1916.  By 1928 the organization had its own building located at 601 West Street.  The organization offered concerts, plays, and various seminars and conferences, along with physical education programs, recreational facilities, and practical classes such as sewing.

The collection includes pamphlets, program booklets, and newsletters of the organization.  There are also several newsletters from the Senate Avenue branch of the Indianapolis Young Men’s Christian Association.

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PROGRESSIVE COMMUNITY CLUB. Records, 1940-1982 (bulk 1957-1977).  M 0531.  2 boxes.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  The Progressive Community Club was active in Indianapolis during the 1950s.  The club sought different ways to improve the African American community, including its involvement in a number of clean-up programs such as the Litter Prevention Program and the Clean House Series.  In 1959 the club became a member of the Federation of Associated Clubs.

Records within the collection emphasize the Progressive Community Club’s programs and activities, as well as information about the Federation of Associated Clubs.  More specifically, the collection contains correspondence, minutes, and financial records of the Progressive Community Club.

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SENATE AVENUE YMCA (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Hi-Y Spring Conference Photographs, ca. 1947–1948.  P 0394.  1 folder.  Collection guide online.  The cornerstone of the Senate Avenue YMCA (Indianapolis) was laid in October 1912 at Michigan and Senate Avenues. Booker T. Washington dedicated the building in 1913. Until the early 1960s the Senate Avenue YMCA held the largest membership of any African American branch in the United States. The facility provided cultural and recreational activities as well as vocational guidance for young men. The center closed in 1959 following the opening of the Fall Creek YMCA.

The Hi-Ys was a boy’s club founded in the mid-1940s by the national YMCA movement. Hi-Y groups operated out of high schools as part of the YMCA’s core youth program and were popular until the 1960s.

The collection contains five group photographs of delegates to a spring Hi-Y Conference at the Senate Avenue YMCA in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1947 or 1948. The participants, mainly young African American men, belonged to the Indiana and Evanston, Illinois, Hi-Ys.

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SOJOURNER TRUTH CLUB. Records, 1922–1975.  M 0540.  2 boxes.  Collection guide online.  The Sojourner Truth Club was organized in Richmond, Indiana, in 1921.  A member of the Indiana Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, it sponsored health programs and an annual scholarship to a college-bound student.  It also contributed money, food, and holiday baskets to the needy.  Money-raising efforts included teas, suppers, and rummage sales.  The club disbanded in 1976.

The collection contains club records, including its constitution and by laws, correspondence, and minutes.  There is also information pertaining to Richmond’s black citizenry.

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SOUL PEOPLE REPERTORY COMPANY (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Scrapbook, 1973–1987.  BV 3422, SC 2682.  1 bound volume, 1 folder.  Collection guide onlineSoul People Repertory Company (SPRC) was a community-based organization established in Indianapolis in 1975 by Helen Whitelowe.  It was one of the many theater companies founded to express an African American perspective after a new tide of Black Nationalism swept the United States during the 1960s.

Most of the collection pertains to the Soul People Repertory Company.  There are also materials that relate to the Hillside Cultural Center, Inc. and its plays; productions of other theatres; the activities of staff at SPRC including Whitelowe, Glenn White, and Mose Laderson; work of other known personalities such as Ed Bullins, Mari Evans, and Steve Oxendine; and general African American history and cultural events.  Items in the collection include correspondence, programs, postcards, flyers, news clippings, certificates, stage bills, and photographs.

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UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND, INDIANA CAMPAIGN. Records, 1950–1955 (bulk 1951–1952)M 0748.  1 box.  Collection guide online.  An Indiana state committee for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) began organizing in August 1950.  The purpose of the organization was to solicit contributions for the 32 African American colleges belonging to the fund.  Corporations, companies, black college alumni, and individuals contributed monies.  When the Indiana Committee of the UNCF was established, it was estimated that the black colleges graduated 90 percent of all African American college graduates. Frederick D. Patterson established the national organization in 1944.

The collection contains materials pertaining to the Indiana Campaign of the United Negro College Fund.  Joseph Russell Brown (1915–79) worked as the state organizer for the 1950 and 1951 campaigns of the fund, and as the executive secretary during the 1952 campaign.  The collection includes office files, minutes, reports, financial records, and photographs related to the Campaign.

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WOMAN’S IMPROVEMENT CLUB (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Records, 1909–1965.  M 0432.  1 box.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Founded in 1903 by Indianapolis journalist and elocutionist Lillian Thomas Fox, the Woman’s Improvement Club’s early roster boasted the names of community activists Ida Webb Bryant, Ada Harris, Rose D. Hummons, and Beulah Wright Porter.  According to its constitution the purpose of the organization was “mutual improvement of its members, the care of tubercular persons, and all other uplift work.”  The organization was especially active in the care of local black tuberculosis patients, establishing an outdoor camp at Oak Hill in the Brightwood area in Indianapolis in 1903.

The Woman’s Improvement Club collection contains minute books, a constitution, brief handwritten histories, correspondence, and club rosters with addresses.  It also includes financial records, including account statements, account books, information on dues and disbursements, and receipts.

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YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION. Records, 1896–1986.  M 0485, OM 185, BV 2373–2387, F 997–F1010.  11 boxes, 1 oversize folder, 15 bound volumes, 14 microfilm reels.  Collection guide in library.  The Indianapolis Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) opened at 139 North Meridian Street in 1895.  It offered classes, lunches, and lodging. Practical and recreational programs were offered for women and girls.  In 1976 it moved to North Guion Road from its longtime location at 329 N. Pennsylvania.

A group of black women met between 1914 and 1916, making preliminary plans to form the first African American branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association in Indianapolis.  The group had the support of beauty culturist and businesswoman Madam C. J. Walker, who offered a meeting space in the Walker Manufacturing Company building.  After formally organizing as the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA in 1922, the group built a facility at 601 North West Street in Indianapolis.  The organization disbanded in 1959.

The collection contains the records of the Young Women’s Christian Association in Indianapolis.  It includes Board of Directors minutes, contracts, leases, department reports, and newsletters.  Materials that relate to the Phyllis Wheatley branch are in Box 8 and BV 2373–2379.

Communities

 

CORD, XENIA. “Free Rural Communities in Indiana: A Selected Bibliography” (1982).  SC 1883.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  This bibliography includes various resources for researching Indiana’s early black rural communities.  Most of the settlements included predate the Civil War. Xenia Cord includes books, articles, and microforms.  In addition to general Indiana history materials and attention to county-level communities, Cord cites sources related to North Carolina and Ohio, home states for many of these early settlers.

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CRENSHAW, GWENDOLYN. The History of Blacks in Indianapolis, 1870s.  SC 1981.  3 folders.  No collection guide available.  Freetown Village, Inc., is a living history museum.  The 1870 mythical village was located in Old Ward Four in Indianapolis.  Actors, led by founding director Ophelia Wellington, portray characters from the post-Civil War period.

This collection represents much of the historical research done by Gwendolyn Crenshaw during the developmental stages of the Freetown Village Project.  Divided into three parts, it includes the history of blacks in Indianapolis; the history of the black family in Indianapolis; and a script for the Freetown Village actors entitled, “Our Triumph’s Just Begun.”

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PETERSON, ROGER A. ”Using County Records for Historical African American Research: Address at the Northern Indiana Center for History, South Bend, Sept. 13, 1999.”  SC 0515, CT 783.  1 folder, 1 audiocassette.  Collection guide online.  The collection contains the written notes from a presentation delivered by Roger Peterson on 13 September 1995 to the general public at the Northern Indiana Center for History located at 808 West Washington Street in South Bend.  The audiocassette contains the oral presentation of the program. “Using County Records for Historical African American Research” focused on relevant records at the Owen County Archives, including files from the offices of the recorder, auditor, and clerk.

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POTTER, MARLENE. “Should Indiana Avenue Be Preserved as a Historical Landmark for the Black Community?” (1982).  SC 1877.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  Marlene Potter outlines background information on eastside Indianapolis.  The paper, prepared for a college course, includes results of a survey of Indiana Avenue residents about their community.

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REGENOLD, MICHAEL, “An Analysis of the Displacement of the Midtown Community by an Urban Campus” (1982).  SC 1881.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  Michael Regenold explores the impact of the development of the Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis campus on the area adjacent to it.  In his college paper he gives a brief overview of the history of the area, including Haughville, Indiana Avenue, and the near eastside.

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“REMEMBERING INDIANA IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.”  M0704.  1 box.  Collection guide online.  This collection consists of fifteen transcripts of interviews that were completed as part of a project entitled “Remembering Indiana in the Twentieth Century.”  Six of the interviews relate to Indianapolis; one to Tell City (Labhart); and the others relate to Evansville.  All of the interviews discuss the individuals’ family and personal histories, and the city or area where they lived.  Interviewees include Hazel Hayden, Mildred Kuhlenschmidt, Alberta Murphy, Mary Brookins, Ida Edelen, Alice Hottenstein, Marcella Massey, Mary-Jane Koch, Dee Margardant, and Mary E. Trabits.

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“REMEMBERING THE PAST: AN ORAL AND PICTORIAL HISTORY of AFRICAN AMERICANS in GRANT COUNTY, INDIANA.” 1996.  BV 3165.  1 bound volume.  Collection guide online.  “Remembering the Past: An Oral and Pictorial History of African Americans in Grant County, Indiana” (Grant #94-3014) was completed in compliance with a $2500 Indiana Heritage Research Grant awarded to the Grant County Black History Council, Inc. in 1994.  The volume contains a list of project participants; acknowledgments; and histories of African Americans in Indiana, as well as Grant County; photocopies of newspaper articles; and brief histories of some fraternal organizations.  There are eight transcriptions of oral history interviews, as well as one short narrative by Fred Douglas Stevenson.  Interviewees discuss various subjects including Weaver Settlement, an African American rural community founded in Grant County during the 1840s; family names and histories; employment; social events; schools; churches; social organizations; and the 1930 lynchings of Tom Shipp and Abram Smith at the Marion Courthouse Square.

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RESEARCH FOR FREETOWN VILLAGE, OLD WARD FOUR, 1870” by Amy Glowacki.  (1992).  SC 2542.  3 folders.  Collection guide online.  The collection consists of one unbound copy of Amy Glowacki’s unpublished history paper, “Research for Freetown Village, Old Ward Four, 1870.”  The manuscript was completed while Glowacki was a student in the master’s program in public history at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI).  The 85-page study includes an explanation of her research method; an introduction to the paper; the body of the paper that contains several subheadings, including physical descriptions, location of dwellings, education, streets, social and civic activities, markets, and occupations; a bibliographical essay; detailed endnotes; a bibliography; and an appendix.  Freetown Village, Inc., as portrayed in a living history museum, is an 1870 mythical place set in Old Ward Four in Indianapolis.  The boundaries for Old Ward Four in 1870 were West Washington Street on the south, the White River on the west, First Street (present-day Tenth Street) on the north, and Mississippi Street (present-day Senate Avenue) on the east.  Much of the area is currently occupied by IUPUI.  In 1870 the ward was home to 974 African Americans (which represented the largest population of any ward in Indianapolis) and 4,248 whites.

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SCHEIDT, DUNCAN P. Collection, ca. 1930‑ca. 1949.  P 0257. 40 black‑and‑white photographs.  No collection guide available.  Photographs of African American jazz musicians and other performers who played Indiana Avenue in the 1930s and 1940s. The photographs include portraits of Speed Webb and his orchestra, and Wes Montgomery.

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 “THE TRANSFORMATION OF A NEIGHBORHOOD: RANSOM PLACE HISTORIC DISTRICT, INDIANAPOLIS, 1900–1920” by Carolyn Brady. (1995).  SC 2533.  4 folders.  Collection guide online.  The collection consists of one unbound copy of Carolyn M. Brady’s unpublished manuscript, “The Transformation of a Neighborhood: Ransom Place Historic District, Indianapolis, 1900–20.“  The manuscript was submitted to the faculty of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree in history.  The 122-page study, completed in 1995, contains an introduction, three chapters, a conclusion, maps, tables, graphs, an appendix, and a bibliography.  It explores the demographic trends of a six-block area of Indianapolis during a twenty-year period.  Brady’s basic premise is that the area shifted dramatically from 86 percent white majority to a 96 percent black majority from the 1900 to the 1920 population census.  The area, currently known as Ransom Place, was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.  Its namesake, Freeman B. Ransom (1882–1947), was an attorney and longtime business manager of the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company.

Information from Brady’s study will be used by the Ransom Place Neighborhood Association in its efforts to develop the Heritage Learning Center.  Also the thesis and database records will be used by the Center for Archaeology in the Public Interest at IUPUI, which plans to excavate Ransom Place.

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“WAS FREEDOM DEAD OR ONLY SLEEPING?” (1995).  SC 2624.  1 folder.  Collection guide online.  The Northern Indiana Center for History applied for and received an Indiana Heritage Research Grant (IHRG #95-3031) from the Indiana Humanities Council and the Indiana Historical Society.  The purpose of the grant was to complete a project, “Was Freedom Dead or Only Sleeping,” an overview of African Americans in La Porte County before 1870.  The project researcher was Terry Douglas Goldsworthy.

The collection, contained in one folder, has three parts.  There is a one-sheet abstract, an unpublished manuscript, and an index to four United States decennial censuses.  The abstract outlines the project.  A ten-page manuscript entitled “Was Freedom Dead or Only Sleeping?: the pre 1870 African American Rural Communities of La Porte County, Indiana,” by Terry Douglas Goldsworthy names William Greenwood alias Randall, a free black man, as the first known African American in the county.  Goldsworthy identifies Banks, Henderson, and Clear Lake as three African American rural communities that evolve in the county during the 1830s, 1850s, and 1860s, respectively.  The final item in the folder is an index and abstract of all African Americans in La Porte County who appear in the 1840 to 1870 United States population schedules.

Education

 

ANDREWS, L. O. Letter, 1937.  SC 1972.  1 item.  No collection guide available.  Natalie Fenelon, an African American education student at Indiana University (IU), was not permitted to do her student teaching at Bloomington High School due to that institution’s segregated practices.  This letter, written by L. O. Andrews, Assistant Director of Supervised Teaching, IU, to Professor Teter in the Physiology Department, requests an excused absence from class for Fenelon to enable her to student teach at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis.

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BENEDICT, ELSON, Jr., and FRANK D. AQUILA. “History of the Indianapolis School Desegregation Case: 1968–Present.”  SC 1974.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  Using the 1968 Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) desegregation case as a springboard, Elson Benedict, Jr., and Frank D. Aquila give a history of discriminatory practices in education within Indiana.  This is followed by a chronology through 1979 of a lawsuit initiated by the United States Justice Department against IPS.

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FRIENDS EDUCATION FUND FOR NEGROES. Records, 1945.  SC 1866.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  In 1922 the Quakers gave up control of the Indianapolis Asylum for Friendless Colored Children to the Marion County Board of Commissioners.  Money from the asylum’s endowment, possibly originating from John Williams, a Washington County African American resident, became the foundation for a scholarship fund for black students.  This 1945 statement is an accountant’s verification of the fund.

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HELLER, HERBERT L. (1908–1983). Collection, 1816–1970.  M 0138.  5 boxes.  Collection guide in library.  Herbert L. Heller, a native of Newcastle, Indiana, graduated from Indiana University in 1931.  An educator, he taught school at the secondary and college level.  In 1952 he was awarded a Ph.D. in education.  Throughout his life Heller collected and wrote materials about Newcastle and Henry County.  His published works include Newspaper Readings in the History of Newcastle and Historic Henry County.

The collection contains a copy of Heller’s doctoral thesis, “Negro Education in Indiana” and his research materials.  Subjects covered include law and legal cases regarding the status of African Americans; policies of Indiana colleges concerning black students; Heller’s analysis of the 1850 census as it relates to his research; and religious groups’ attitudes toward blacks.

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INDIANA MID-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY PROGRAMS PERSONNEL. Collection, 1975–1989.  M 0615.  15 boxes. Collection guide in library.  The Mid-American Association of Educational Opportunity Programs Personnel (MAEOPP) was founded as a regional organization in 1974.  One of the state chapters affiliated with MAEOPP, Indiana Mid-American Association of Educational Opportunity Programs Personnel (I-MAEOPP), was organized to execute the regional goals with a focus toward the needs of Indiana students and professionals.  A primary goal of the state, regional, and national (National Council of Educational Opportunity Associations–NCEOA) organizations is to promote secondary and postsecondary support programs designed to meet the academic, financial, and sociocultural needs of minority, disabled, and/or disadvantaged students.

The collection is divided into three major parts including the records of I-MAEOPP and other state affiliates, MAEOPP, and NCEOA.  It contains annual reports, conference and workshop program booklets, election information, newsletters, secretarial and financial records, and membership directories.

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“THE INDIANAPOLIS STORY: SCHOOL SEGREGATION AND DESEGREGATION IN A NORTHERN CITY” by Emma Lou Thornbrough. (1989).  BV 2631.  1 bound volume.  Collection guide online.  The collection consists of one bound copy of Emma Lou Thornbrough’s original, unpublished manuscript, “The Indianapolis Story: School Segregation and Desegregation in a Northern City.”  The 620-page study, completed in 1989, contains a preface, twelve chapters, notes, and a bibliography.  Thornbrough provides an overview of the historically pervasive climate of segregated education in Indianapolis.  She details the city’s desegregation strides from the passage of the 1949 Indiana school desegregation law.

She presents in great depth the roles of the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) Board, various advocacy groups, and the public-at-large in response to a lawsuit initiated by the United States Justice Department against IPS.  Although the lawsuit was brought in 1968, the case did not come to trial until 1971 when IPS was found guilty of practicing de jure segregation.  The case, along with subsequently related trials, was held in the Federal District Court of Southern Indiana before Samuel Hugh Dillin.  Although there were many changes instituted in the school district as a result of the lawsuit, the most dramatic consequence was the decision to impose one-way busing (black children were bused out of the inner city to predominantly white township schools) to achieve integration.

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MCARTHUR CONSERVATORY. Records, 1946–1988.  M 0529, OM 0260.  1 box, 7 oversize folders.  Collection guide online.  The McArthur Conservatory of Music, Inc., was an institution located in Indianapolis that provided recreational and commercial training for children and adults.  The school was founded in 1946 by Ruth McArthur, a music supervisor for the Indianapolis Public Schools.  The conservatory closed in 1963.

The collection contains the general records of the school, including its articles of incorporation, correspondence, Board of Trustees and committee minutes, business and teacher contracts, and publicity materials.  Also included are business records of the Hotelmen’s Club, a social organization begun in 1927, and several items from Rutherford McArthur, a physician and Ruth McArthur’s father.

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MAYE, KATHERINE DAVIS. Hall of fame project, 1968-1986.  SC 2256.  3 folders.  Collection guide online.  In 1968 Katherine Davis Maye, a teacher at the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) #87 initiated a Hall of Fame wall to proclaim the achievements of a select group of alumni.  The purpose of the Black History Month exhibit was to surround the school’s students with an atmosphere of success; to honor former students; and to spotlight careers uncommon in the black community.  Honorees included a cardiologist, public affairs director of a television station, an author, attorneys, a foreign diplomat, and a deputy assistant secretary of the Navy.

The collection contains photographs, biographical information, and news articles related to the Hall of Fame inductees.

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MT. PLEASANT LIBRARY. Records, 1842–1869. SC 2440.  2 folders.  Collection guide online.  The Mt. Pleasant Library was established at Beech Settlement in 1842.  Beech Settlement, located north of Carthage in Rush County, Indiana, was an African American rural community founded during the 1820s by a family surnamed Roberts.  According to Xenia Cord, the Robertses later moved with the Waldens and Winburns to northern Hamilton County to establish Roberts Settlement, prior to developing rural communities in Vigo County.

Although there is evidence that the library was later moved to the Union School, the subscription library opened in the community’s meetinghouse.  The small collection contained books pertaining to religion, geography, and philosophy.  Operated by a board of trustees, a librarian, and a secretary, the library’s membership was composed of men and women from the community who paid $.25 to $1.50 to join.

The collection contains two notebooks pertaining to the Mt. Pleasant Library in Rush County, Indiana.  Volume I (1842–67) contains the Mt. Pleasant Library constitution, a list of subscribers, and minutes from the board of managers meetings.  One of the last entries indicates that the trustees planned to move the library to the Union schoolhouse.  Volume II (1842–69) contains a circulation record of the library.  It lists patrons, due dates (inferred by the number of weeks of the loan), a number code for the books, and whether or not the item was returned.  Surnames that appear regularly are Bass, Brooks, Clark, Jeffries, Roberts, Watkins, and Winburn.

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NEAL-MARSHALL ALUMNI CLUB. Records, 1977–1983.  M 0659.  3 boxes.  Collection guide online.  The Neal-Marshall Alumni Club was organized in 1977 out of the office of George Taliafero, Special Assistant to the president of Indiana University (IU).  Its main purpose was to encourage the participation of African American graduates in alumni affairs.  The club was named to honor the earliest African American male and female graduates of IU. Marcellus Neal graduated in 1895, and Frances Marshall Eagleson received an A.B. in English in 1919.  The major emphasis of the club has been the sponsorship of an annual reunion and development efforts for the establishment of a Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center on the Bloomington campus.  The first reunion was held at the Fourwinds Hotel and Marina, south of Bloomington, Indiana, in July 1978.  Subsequent reunions have been hosted in other cities; however, most of the reunions have been in Bloomington.

The collection contains the club’s constitution, Reunion and Executive committee minutes, and general correspondence.  There is also biographical information in various formats pertaining to numerous Indiana University African American alumni, financial records, and a proposal for a new African American culture center for the campus.

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NEWSOME, MAENELL H. Collection, 1937–1976. SC 1976.  1 folder.  Black Women of the Middle West.  No collection guide available.  The bulk of this collection documents some of the activities of Maenell Newsome of Indianapolis.  Newsome was a teacher and head of the foreign language department at Broad Ripple High School.

The focus of the collection is the Crispus Attucks Orchestra-Band Parents’ Club, of which Newsome was a supporter.  The club was founded by Newsome’s husband, Lavern in 1940.  Mr. Newsome was a longtime music teacher at Crispus Attucks High School.  Also included in the collection is a 1957 newspaper article on integration of the Indianapolis Public Schools, which includes a picture of Newsome in her classroom.

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UNION LITERARY INSTITUTE. Collection, 1845–1891.  BV 1972.  1 bound volume.  No collection guide available.  Union Literary Institute, located in Randolph County, was one of few 19th-century Indiana educational institutions that encouraged the enrollment of African Americans.  The institution began in 1846 under Ebenezer Tucker, a white Congregational minister who was newly graduated from Oberlin College.  Anti-Slavery Friends, who had splintered from the larger body of the Society of Friends in 1842 over the issue of slavery, liberally supported the school.  The school, located in Randolph County, was surrounded by three thriving African American rural communities, Greenville, Cabin Creek, and Snow Hill.  Well-known graduates of the institute include James Hinton, John G. Mitchell, Hiram and Willis Revels, and Samuel Smothers.

The volume contains the board of managers’ minutes and the constitution of the institution.

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WABASH COLLEGE. Oral History Project.  M 0647, CT 593–701.  3 boxes, 109 cassette tapes.  Collection guide online.  The Wabash College Oral History Project grew out of the school’s sesquicentennial celebration planned during the 1980s.  The faculty’s Minority Studies Committee successfully proposed an oral history project focused on African Americans at Wabash.  As a response to the paucity of records available about the history of blacks within the Crawfordsville community, the project was expanded to include the city.

The collection contains 48 transcriptions and 109 tapes.  It is divided into two parts, denoting interviews associated with the college and the city.  The transcriptions, removed from eight loose-leaf notebooks, remain in their original order.  Both sets of interviews (the college and the community) are preceded by background information pertaining to the project, its history and editorial policy for interviews and transcriptions, along with biographical summaries of each interviewee.  The information preceding the Wabash College interviews also includes an index that cross lists names of individuals who are mentioned during the interviews.  The list contains the names of several prominent individuals, including Imaru Baraka, Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, Richard Nixon, George Wallace, and Malcolm X, many who visited Wabash College as speakers.

Race Relations

ALLISON, JAMES. Freeman Field Research Paper, 1995.  SC 2696. 1 folder. Collection guide online. The collection is contained in three file folders.  The 199-page manuscript, “Mutiny at Freeman Field: Life and Art of James Gould Cozzens,” written by James Allison in 1995, details a World War II racial episode at Freeman Field in Seymour, Indiana. Against the orders of a white Provost Marshall, African American Air Force officers attempted to enter the officers’ club.  James Gould Cozzens won a Pulitzer Prize for a fictionalized account of the incident when Guard of Honor was published in 1948.  Allison provides biographical information on Cozzens, background on African American participation in the armed forces to that period, and a history of the 477th Bombardment Group and the 332d Fighter Wing.  Utilizing the trial transcripts, Allison follows the outcome of the 1945 court martial that results in the conviction of one of the three black soldiers accused during the April 1945 incident at Freeman Field. 

The appendix includes a 25-page account of Eugene Jacques Bullard, reputed to be the first and only black combat pilot during World War I.  An American, Bullard flew for France. Allison’s biographical sketch is based on P.J. Carisella and James W. Ryan’s 1972 publication, The Black Swallow of Death: The Incredible Story of Eugene Jacques Bullard, the World’s First Black Combat Aviator.  The sketch closes with a short bibliography and a photocopied photograph of Bullard.

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BECKS, MATHEW. Emancipation Record, 1851.  SC 1750.  1 item.  Collection guide online.  Mathew Becks’s emancipation record was recorded on 18 February 1851 in Rockingham County, Virginia, prior to his arrival in Indiana.  Along with a physical description of Becks, the document states that Becks was emancipated by the last will and testament of St. Clair Kirtley.

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BROWNESS, A. G. Letter, 1860.  SC 1973.  1 item.  No collection guide available.  This letter from A. G. Browness to an unidentified person concerned black men serving in the United States military.  It refers to the Provincial Act concerning the “regulating of free Negroes.”

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CABIN CREEK SOCIETY OF ANTI-SLAVERY FRIENDS. Records,1843–1856.  BV 0401a–d and BV 402.  5 bound volumes.  Collection guide in library.  The Dunkirk Society of Friends, later known as Cabin Creek, held its monthly meetings in Randolph County, Indiana.  In addition to the two volumes related to the minutes of the group’s meetings, there are volumes containing birth and marriage records of the members of the organization.

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CALLOWAY, THOMAS L. Letter, n.d., 1913.  SC 2680.  1 item.  Collection guide online.  The collection consists of two items.  The first is a piece of business stationary (Charles W. Calloway, Bricklayer and Contractor, Madison, Indiana).  The stationary contains several names and notes regarding Madison history and the Underground Railroad.  The second item is a three-page hand-written and signed letter.  Dated 9 December 1913, it is written to Mrs. Gaylord Crozier in Madison, Indiana, from her cousin, Thomas L. Calloway (1835–?) in Springfield, Missouri.  Calloway indicates that he is responding to a letter that he received from Crozier requesting information about their family history.  He talks about his grandfather, Jesse Calloway, and mentions Jesse’s two wives and provides the names of their children.  He says the Calloways were Quakers and that they originated in Delaware before crossing the mountains to Pennsylvania, then came down the Ohio River to Cincinnati.  He talks about the War of 1812, the family’s involvement with the Underground Railroad, and social changes that have taken place in the United States (e.g., cost of postage and the efficiency of the mail service).  He ends with a note concerning his ill health.

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CLANIN, DOUGLAS E., “Anderson and the Negro” (1960).  SC 1882.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  The college paper, written by Douglas E. Clanin, includes some sociological data concerning blacks in Anderson from 1940 to 1960.  It also includes two interviews about racial conditions in the city with Frank Allis, a director of the Anderson Urban League’s board, and Harold Miller, a postal employee.

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DEED OF SALE, 1816.  SC 0437.  1 item.  No collection guide available.  This Warrick County, Indiana, deed registers the sale of property and slaves owned by Gulielmus Wiggins to Adam Young and Daniel Akins.  The sale included three slaves, Hannah, Jefferson, and Jackson; four featherbeds; one cart; one horse; and one house and a lot.  The deed was witnessed, acknowledged, attested to, and recorded in 1816.

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FUSSELL, SOLOMON. Letter, 1843.  SC 2107.  1 folder.  Collection guide online.  Quaker Solomon Fussell, his wife, Milcah Martha, and five of their surviving eleven children arrived at Spring Valley (Fall Creek Township, Madison County), Indiana, from Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1832.  Within a few years, Fussell’s wife and four more of his children died.   Fussell married Hannah Lewis (1800–74) in Milford, Wayne County, Indiana, on 1 December 1836.  They were married at the Friends (Hicksite) Monthly Meeting.  Lewis, formerly of Willistown, Chester County, Pennsylvania, was the daughter of Joseph and Lydia Lewis.

The one-item collection contains a five-page carbon transcript of a letter dated 1 November 1843.  The letter was written by Solomon Fussell of Fall Creek Township, Madison County, Indiana, to an unnamed nephew.  It discusses family and local news and crop prices.  Of particular note are Fussell’s comments about a mob disturbance in Madison County involving locals and abolitionists including Frederick Douglass.

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KENTUCKY RESOLUTION TO ADJACENT NON-SLAVEHOLDING STATES, 1822.  SC 1353.  1 item.  No collection guide available.  This resolution was sent to the governments of Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois.  It was an appeal for cooperation and harmony between states regarding runaway slaves.  More specifically, Secretary of State Joseph C. Breckinridge, under the auspices of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, requested that the governors of the non-slaveholding states appoint officers to examine laws affecting people of color, slaves, and slaveholders.

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“MY AFRICAN GRANDFATHER,” Paper (ca. 1942).  SC 2677.  1 folder.  Collection guide in library.  In a 21-page typewritten paper (“My African Grandfather: Flickinger, Missionary to Africa”), Florence F. Wolff writes about her grandfather, Daniel Flickinger.  The paper, read to the [Indianapolis] Woman’s Club during the 1941–42 club year, was compiled from her grandfather's diaries.  The thrust of the manuscript is Flickinger’s work as a missionary in Africa.  Wolff indicates that Flickinger made twelve trips to the west coast of Africa to establish medical missions.  Wolff details her grandfather’s work as a lecturer for the American Missionary Society and describes an 1863 trip that Flickinger made to Washington, D. C. to appeal to President Abraham Lincoln on behalf of freedmen in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  During the Civil War, he served as a hospital chaplain in Nashville, Tennessee, and a post chaplain in Bridgeport, Alabama.

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PINNELL, GEORGE. Certificate of Sale, 1824.  SC 2620.  1 item.  Collection guide online.  The slave trade in Kentucky began with the early settlers.  Until the 1840s, most slaves in the state were sold locally or regionally.  At 12:00 o’clock noon, 20 December 1824, “with a sufficiency of bidders present,” George Pinnell serving as auctioneer, for the estate of John Piner, sold Ned, “a Negro boy.”  All of the principles of the transaction (with the exception of Ned), including the decedent, auctioneer, purchaser, and witnesses are clearly identified in the 1820 Jefferson County and/or the 1830 Oldham County, Kentucky censuses.  Formed from Jefferson, Shelby, and Henry counties, Oldham County was established in 1823.

The collection contains one item.  It is a certification of a sale of Ned to Benjamin Allen for $204.  Allen was the highest bidder.  The sale, witnessed by James Wilson and Elijah Yager, was held at Floydsburg located in Oldham County, Kentucky.

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REGISTER OF NEGROES AND MULATTOES, ca. 1850s.  SC 1726.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  An 1852 act empowered the enforcement of Article XIII of the 1851 Indiana constitution, which prohibited the entry of blacks and mulattoes into the state.  This act sought the registry of all black and mulatto residents.  County clerks maintained registers. This photocopied document contains names and physical descriptions of black residents of Orange County in the 1850s.

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ROBBINS, COY. “Miscegenation of Black History” and “Free Persons of Color.”  SC 1892.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  Coy Robbins has written several books and articles on Indiana’s African American history.  Retired from Indiana University, he was founder and president of the now defunct organization, Indiana African American Historical and Genealogical Society (IAAHGS), a state chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. IAAHGS published Ebony Lines (1988–92), a quarterly newsletter that contains a wealth of genealogical information.

During the nineteenth century many of Coy Robbins’s forebears emigrated to Hamilton County, Indiana, from North Carolina.  Both of these papers are written in a genealogical context pertaining to the Robbins’s family in Indiana.

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SOCIETY OF FRIENDS, DEER CREEK MONTHLY MEETING of ANTI-SLAVERY FRIENDS. Women's minute book, 1843-1846.  SC 2593.  1 folder.  Collection guide online.  In the early 1800s, a large number of Quakers migrated from Virginia and North Carolina to Ohio and Indiana.  The dispute over the question of slavery resulted in a separation among Indiana Friends beginning in 1842–43.  On 7 February 1843, an Indiana Yearly Meeting of Anti-Slavery Friends was established in Newport, Indiana (Wayne Co.), and some Anti-Slavery Friends established local monthly meetings.  The Deer Creek Anti-Slavery Friends began monthly meetings, located approximately four miles south of Marion, Indiana (Grant Co.), on 25 February 1843.  By 1857, the Indiana Yearly Meeting of Anti-Slavery Friends was discontinued, and most members rejoined the Orthodox body.

The collection consists of six typewritten pages of notes from the Deer Creek Monthly Meeting of Anti-Slavery Friends women's minute books (1843–46).  They begin with a quotation from the men's minute books (1843–55) concerning the establishment of the Deer Creek Anti-Slavery Friends.  The notes mention marriages, disownments, and activities of the Friends.

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SPEARS, GRANT, Jr. “Summary of Remarks about Race and Human Relations” (1949).  SC 1625.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  Grant Spears, Jr., representing the United Organizations Council (composed of 19 civic, fraternal, and religious organizations), gave a speech about race and human relations to the Richmond, Indiana, Junior Chamber of Commerce on 23 November 1949.  This paper is a summary of those remarks that focused on discrimination in housing, education, and public accommodations.

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TAYLOR, JOSEPH. The Negro in America the last citizen, ca. 1958.  M 0350, CT 761–770.  1 box (10 reel-to-reel tapes), 10 cassette tapes.  Collection guide online.  “The Negro in America: The Last Citizen” was an audiotape series produced by E. W. Richter for WBAA Radio Station, Purdue University.  The tapes were recorded circa 1958 under a grant from the Education Television and Radio Center.  Richter and Purdue professor of sociology, Louis Schneider, served as moderators for the series that examined numerous local and national sociological issues, including crime, religion, race relations, and protest and their ramifications.

The collection consists of ten reel-to-reel tapes that have also been converted to cassette tapes.  The tapes are approximately 35 minutes each and cover general topics.  There are no transcriptions for the tapes.  The series moderators interview many sociological professionals, including Joseph Taylor and Lester Branger.

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THORNBROUGH, EMMA LOU. “Breaking Racial Barriers to Public Accommodations from the 1940s to 1963.”  SC 1971. 2 folders.  Collection guide online.  Emma Lou Thornbrough’s manuscript is an overview of civil rights activities related to public accommodations in Indiana during the middle third of the twentieth century.  The paper was delivered at the Indiana Historical Society’s 1986 Spring Conference.  A response to the paper written by Richard Blackett, Indiana University history professor, is also included.

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“UNDERGROUND RAILROAD IN JAY COUNTY.”  SC 1626. 2 folders.  Collection guide in library.  The Underground Railroad is a name given to the flight of runaway slaves in the United States who headed (usually northward) toward free states and Canada prior to and during the Civil War.  There were various routes, stations (places of refuge), conductors (individuals helping direct flight), and terminology associated with the Underground Railroad.

The collection contains a paper written by Daryl R. Yost, provost of Taylor University.  The paper, entitled “The Underground Railroad: A Response to an Injustice in American History,” was presented to the Fort Wayne Quest Club on 7 March 1997.  It gives a brief history of the Underground Railroad, an explanation of its terms, a description of some of the major national participants, and an overview of the roles of Indiana and Ohio.  There are also several color photographs taken by Dwight Mikkelson, former professor at Taylor University.  The photographs pertain to a site, purported to have been an Underground Railroad station in Balbec (Jay County), Indiana.  The images include a recently rebuilt log cabin, a sign for the city of Balbec, and a stone marker that states that Eliza Harris (from Uncle Tom’s Cabin) rested there in her flight to Canada.

Religious Institutions

 

ALLEN CHAPEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. Collection, 1885–1890.  BV 2337. 1 bound volume.  No collection guide available.  The collection contains the minutes from the quarterly conferences of Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Indianapolis during the late nineteenth century.  The minutes reveal information about the institution’s activities, including Sunday School attendance, membership, and general church concerns.

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BETHEL A. M. E. (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Sunday School Records,1892.  SC 1438.  1 folder.  Collection guide online.  Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1836, and until 1866 was the only church of its denomination in Indianapolis. It has had a number of buildings on its site just west of the Central Canal on Vermont Street. In 1857 Bethel bought the original building of Christ Church (Episcopal), which had just built its present sanctuary; that building, moved from the Circle, was burned in 1862. The main portion of the present structure was put up in 1867-1869; a tower and an east-west gable were added in 1894, and a three-story false facade in 1973.

This collection consists of one bound volume, "S. S. Secretary's Record," containing Sunday School attendance records, and some minutes.

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DOWNEY, VIRTEA. Papers, 1913-1985 (bulk 1970-1985).  M 0511, BV 2497–2498, OM 333.  1 box, 2 volumes, 1 oversize folder.  Black Women in the Middle West Project.  Collection guide online.  Virtea Maletta Washington Downey (1913–), the daughter of Fred and Anna Pauline Washington, was born in Indianapolis.  She married Cassie Downey, an electrical engineer from Earl, Arkansas.  Two children were born of this union. Downey completed studies at Tennessee State Normal College, Lewis Business College, and Butler University.  In 1981 she ended a 25-year teaching career with the Indianapolis Public Schools.  She, along with fellow schoolteacher Shirley Herd, under the auspices of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., Indianapolis Section, helped to launch the Black Women in the Middle West Project.

As part of the project, Downey, Church Relations Consultant, gathered materials from various churches in Indianapolis.  The bulk of the collection includes church histories, anniversary programs, and newspaper clippings.

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FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, BRIDGEPORT, INDIANA. Collection, 1901–1984.  M 0719.  1 box.  Collection guide in library.  Church tradition maintains that First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, Indiana, (Wayne Township, Marion County) was founded during the Civil War period.  Early on the church was known as the White Lick Colored Baptist Church.  According to the Chain of Title and Encumbrances, the trustees of the church purchased real estate in Lot 2, Block 3 of the Barlow addition of Bridgeport in 1886.  The property location is immediately north of the National Road (U.S. Highway 40) at 8730 W. Washington Street.

The collection includes a church history, correspondence, minutes, financial records, and news clippings.

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GOEBES, ALAN. “The History of the Second Baptist Church” (1983).  SC 1889.  1 folder.  No collection guide available.  Second Baptist Church, reputed to be the pioneer church serving African American Baptists in Indianapolis, was founded in 1846.  This history of the church includes a short bibliography.  Also contained in the collection are obituaries of church members and ministers.

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HARRIS, RAYMOND. “History of Bethel Church” (1974). SC 1624. 1 folder.  No collection guide.  Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Richmond, Indiana, has been designated a historic monument on the National Register of Historic Places.  Church member Raymond Harris gives an overview of the institution’s history beginning with its 1836 founding.

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JETT, ALTA M. Papers, 1916–1986.  M 0495, BV 2686.  3 boxes, 1 bound volume.  Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online.  Alta Boatright Jett (1920–) was born in Lancaster, Kentucky.  While a young girl she moved to Richmond, Indiana.  She attended Earlham College and Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.  Later she married Richard E. Jett. During the 1930s Jett worked as a domestic servant.  At the outbreak of World War II, she worked in a factory; and later she worked in a credit office.  Jett has been a longtime and active member of Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Richmond.

Her collection reflects Jett’s work with the Black Women in the Middle West Project.  She collected several items related to churches in Richmond.  There are materials pertaining to Missionary Baptist, Mount Moriah Baptist, Second Baptist, and Bethel African Methodist Episcopal churches.  The collection also includes Jett’s personal correspondence and newspaper clippings. Additionally, there are materials related to the Mary B. Talbert Club, the Townsend Community Center, and the Margaret Smith and Mary Hill nursing homes.

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NEW BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Records, 1907-1986 (bulk 1957-1980).  M 0450.  3 boxes. Collection guide online.  The New Bethel Baptist Church was organized in July 1875.  Although the church has had three different addresses, it has remained on the same property since it first appeared in an Indianapolis city directory in 1878.  Its current address is 1535 Dr. Andrew J. Brown Street.  New Bethel Baptist Church has had several pastors, many of whom have held long tenures. Pastors include Jacob Reiner, G. Smith, Nathaniel A. Seymour, George Baltimore, J.O. Clark, and F. Benjamin Davis.

The collection contains church records that mostly date between the late 1950s and 1980.  There are program booklets from church anniversaries, newsletters, and bulletins.  The bulk of the collection pertains to other Baptist institutions or organizations to which New Bethel Baptist Church has an affiliation.  There are materials related to the Baptist Ministerial and Deacon’s Alliance, Indiana Missionary Baptist State Convention, Central Baptist Seminary, and the National Publishing Board.

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SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Records, 1912-1985 ; bulk 1937-1967.  M 0524, OM 259.  1 box, 2 oversize folders.  Collection guide online.  Second Baptist Church was established in Indianapolis in 1846.  The church continues to exist at 2302 West Washington Street. Moses Broyles, pastor of the church from 1857 to 1882, recounts the institution’s first 30 years in The History of Second Baptist Church (This book is available at the Indiana State Library.).

The collection includes a 21-page history of the church written by a member.  The collection also contains a minute book of the Deacon Board (1932–38) and a Pastor and Deacons in Conference minute book (1961–67).  Several copies of the Second Baptist Herald and a copy of the District Informer are in the collection.  The former contains information about the church and its activities, a monthly message written by the pastor, and advertisements of local businesses.  The latter was apparently the news organ of some local Baptist churches.